Citation
The Crofton boys

Material Information

Title:
The Crofton boys
Creator:
Martineau, Harriet, 1802-1876
Evans, Edmund, 1826-1905 ( Engraver )
George Routledge and Sons ( Publisher )
Ballantyne and Hanson ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London ;
New York
Publisher:
George Routledge and Sons
Manufacturer:
Ballantyne and Hanson
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
192 p., [1] leaf of plates : col. ill. ; 18 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Boarding schools -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Boarding school students -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
School stories -- 1885 ( local )
Onlays (Binding) -- 1885 ( rbbin )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1885 ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1885
Genre:
School stories ( local )
Onlays ( rbbin )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) ( rbbin )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Illustrations engraved and signed by E. Evans.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Harriet Martineau.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026727501 ( ALEPH )
15125816 ( OCLC )
ALG8117 ( NOTIS )

Related Items

Related Item:
PALMM Version

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:

UF00023472_00001.pdf

UF00023472_00001.txt

00199.txt

00026.txt

00047.txt

00080.txt

00058.txt

00105.txt

00060.txt

00054.txt

00092.txt

00051.txt

00177.txt

00055.txt

00061.txt

00153.txt

00162.txt

00137.txt

00183.txt

00067.txt

00142.txt

00037.txt

00033.txt

00100.txt

00096.txt

00145.txt

00108.txt

00174.txt

00062.txt

00002.txt

00112.txt

00146.txt

00076.txt

00057.txt

00148.txt

00182.txt

00158.txt

00087.txt

00066.txt

00186.txt

00073.txt

00075.txt

00194.txt

00127.txt

00027.txt

00063.txt

00114.txt

00091.txt

00071.txt

00120.txt

00059.txt

00136.txt

00150.txt

00042.txt

00012.txt

00156.txt

00125.txt

00023.txt

00167.txt

00039.txt

00122.txt

00163.txt

00133.txt

00072.txt

00081.txt

00020.txt

00038.txt

00188.txt

00179.txt

00193.txt

00151.txt

00101.txt

00011.txt

00190.txt

00160.txt

00034.txt

00083.txt

00157.txt

00143.txt

00024.txt

00110.txt

00093.txt

00117.txt

00152.txt

00184.txt

00022.txt

00204.txt

00119.txt

00189.txt

00168.txt

00111.txt

00154.txt

00019.txt

00203.txt

00126.txt

00135.txt

00172.txt

00191.txt

00170.txt

00169.txt

00070.txt

00032.txt

00138.txt

00068.txt

00107.txt

00128.txt

00140.txt

00064.txt

00008.txt

00035.txt

00095.txt

00200.txt

00090.txt

00196.txt

00016.txt

00116.txt

00118.txt

UF00023472_00001_pdf.txt

00005.txt

00103.txt

00166.txt

00197.txt

00017.txt

00139.txt

00178.txt

00097.txt

00050.txt

00121.txt

00085.txt

00195.txt

00018.txt

00098.txt

00113.txt

00052.txt

00144.txt

00084.txt

00069.txt

00134.txt

00004.txt

00088.txt

00187.txt

00029.txt

00175.txt

00074.txt

00132.txt

00077.txt

00041.txt

00053.txt

00164.txt

00198.txt

00104.txt

00185.txt

00115.txt

00078.txt

00149.txt

00141.txt

00131.txt

00021.txt

00028.txt

00031.txt

00009.txt

00046.txt

00147.txt

00044.txt

00013.txt

00001.txt

00109.txt

00099.txt

00102.txt

00040.txt

00129.txt

00094.txt

00159.txt

00014.txt

00086.txt

00130.txt

00049.txt

00079.txt

00048.txt

00165.txt

00123.txt

00065.txt

00106.txt

00015.txt

00056.txt

00192.txt

00045.txt

00161.txt

00171.txt

00176.txt

00173.txt

00030.txt

00089.txt

00082.txt

00155.txt

00036.txt

00124.txt

00043.txt

00025.txt


Full Text




The Baldwin Library

University
RmB -
Florida











THE

PROrroNn BOYS

BY

HARRIET MARTINEAU

AUTHOR OF
“THE PEASANT AND THE PRINCE,” “ FEATS ON THE FIORD,”
ETC, ETC,

LONDON
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL

NEW YORK; 9, LAFAYETTE PLACE



Ballantyne JOvess
BALLANTYNE, HANSON AND CO., EDINBURGH
CHANDOS STREET, LONDON



CONTENTS.

OHAP. PAGE
I. ALL THE PROOTORS BUT PHIT »« v »0 « © a + 5 5

TROVE MRA TOOKEN CARIN) 9 allele. 6 ee iia) 8 we
TIT, MIOHABLMAS-DAY COMB . . 0 « 8 «© © » © © «© BY
IV. MICHARLMAS-DAY OVER . o «4 + 0 « « © « » 40

AMOHORLONMDIOA Vin Muli suet ivelMMe\NWell Mele") @ ele ele sul Ose

VES ROUR MBL cai oll su ewe eel is) (fet a. eh iene Sv vene ,yOUg
VII. WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOMH. « -« * « 4 » 90
AARON EDA hie) ¢il sells Nel ele a ge e dOS

117

PUMP MAVACTORMSH sit Yell) iei)\\'e) ol leet) (ap) se #)) ew) LO

IX, OROPDON QUIET. «. .« «© «© «© © » 6 *@

»
2
2

x

8

2

2

2

x

5

2
jet
~
_

XI. DOMESTIO MANNERS . 2 « © »
Xe) HOUT AND HIS)DIGNITY’ si 6\ o « » e o 6 0 « » ADL
SUM U RERUN Gavotte) lea) le ¢. ee. a. a 8 6s ley LOO
XIV. HOLT AND HIS HELP. » « © © «© © # «© 9 o «© 182

BAVMMCONCHURION) isis) ss 9 8 bo ce al wal ot hh SD



THE CROFTON BOYS.

CHAPTER IL ,
ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL.

Mr. Proctor, the chemist and druggist, kept his shop,
and lived in the Strand, London. His children thought
that there was never anything pleasanter than the way
they lived. Their house was warm in winter, and such a
little distance from the church, that they had no difficulty
in getting to church and back again, in the worst ‘weather,
before their shoes were wet. They were also conveniently
near to Covent Garden market; so that, if any friend
_ dropped in to dinner unexpectedly, Jane and Agnes
could be off to the market, and buy a fowl, or some vege-
tables or fruit, and be back again before they were missed.
It was not even too far for little Harry to trot with one
of his sisters, early on a summer’s morning, to spend his
penny (when he Renpencd to .have one) on a bunch of
flowers, to lay on papa’s plate, to surprise him when he
came in to breakfast. Not much farther off was the
Yemple Garden, where Mrs, Proctor took her children
every fine summer evening to walk and breathe the air
from the river ; and when Mr. Proctor could find time to
come to them for a turn or two before the younger ones
must go home to bed, it seemed to the whole party the



6 THE CROFTON BOYS.

happiest and most beautiful place in the whole world,—
except one. They had once been to Broadstairs, when
the children were in poor health after the measles: and
for ever after, when they thought of the waves beating
on the shore, and of the pleasures of growing strong and
well among the sea-breezes, they felt that there might be
places more delightful than the Temple Garden : but they
were still very proud and fond of the grass and trees, and
the gravel walks, and the view over the Thames, and
were pleased to show off the garden to all friends from
the country who came to visit them.

The greatest privilege of all, however, was that they
ould see the river without going out of their own housé.
.There were three back windows to the house, one above
another ; and from the two uppermost of these windows
there was what the children called a view of the Thames.
There was a gap of a few yards wide between two high
brick houses: and through this gap might be seen the
broad river, with vessels of every kind passing up or
down. Outside the second window were some leads,
affording space for three or four chairs: and here it was
that Jane and Agnes liked to sit at work, on certain
hours of fine days. There were times when these leads
were too hot, the heat of the sun being reflected from the
surrounding brick walls; but at an earlier hour before
the shadows were gone, and when the air blew in from
the river, the place was cool, and the little girls delighted
to carry their stools to the leads, and do their sewing
there. There Philip would condescend to spend a part
of his mornings, in his Midsummer holidays, frightening
his sisters with climbing about in dangerous places, or
amusing them with stories of school-pranks, or raising his



ATL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL, 7

younger brother Hugh’s envy of the boys who were so
happy as to be old enough to go to school at Mr,
Tooke’s, at Crofton.

The girls had no peace from their brothers climbing !
about in dangerous places. Hugh was, if possible, worse
than Philip for this. He imitated all Philip’s feats, and —
had some of his own besides. In answer to Jane’s lec- :
tures and the entreaties of Agnes, Hugh always declared
that he had a right to do such things, ay he meant to be a
soldier or a sailor; and how should he be able to climb
the mast of a ship, or the walls of a city, if he did not
begin to practise new? Agnes was almost sorry they
had been to Broadstairs, he could see ships in the
Thames, when she considered that, if Hugh had not seen
so much of the world, he might have been satisfied to be
apprenticed to his father, when old enough, and to have
lived at home happily with his family. Jane advised
Agnes not to argue with Hugh, and then perhaps his wish
to rove about the world might go off. She had heard
her father say that, when he was a boy, and used to bring
home news of victories, and help to put up candles at
the windows on illumination nights, he had a great fancy
for being a soldier ; but that it was his fortune to see some
soldiers from Spain, and hear'from them what war really
was, just when peace came, and when there was no more
glory to be got; so that he had happily settled down to
be a London shop-keeper—a lot which he would not ex-
change with that of any man living. Hugh was very like
papa, Jane added ; and the same change might take place
in his mind, if he was not made perverse by argument
So Agnes only sighed, and bent her head closer over her
work, as she heard Hugh talk of the adventures he meant



8 THE OROFTON BOYS,

%0 have when he should be old enough to get away from
Old England.

There was one person that laughed at Hugh for this
fancy of his;—Miss Harold, the daily governess, who
came to keep school for three hours every morning,
When Hugh forgot his lesson, and sat staring at the
upper panes of the window, in a reverie about his future
travels ; or when he was found to have been drawing a
soldier on his slate instead of doing his sum, Miss Harold
reminded him what a pretty figure a soldier would cut
who knew no geography, or a sailor who could not make
his reckonings, for want of attending early to his arith-
metic. Hugh could not deny this; but he was always
wishing that school-hours were over, that he might get
under the great dining-table to read Robinson Crusoe, or
might play at shipwreck, under pretence of amusing
little Harry. It did make him ashamed to see how his
sisters got on, from the mere pleasure of learning, and
without any idea of ever living anywhere but in London;
while he, who seemed to have so much more reason for
wanting the very knowledge that they were obtaining,
could not settle his mind to his lessons. Jane was
beginning to read French books for her amusement in
*, leisure hours; and Agnes was often found to have
covered two slates with sums in Practice, just for plea-
sure, while he could not master the very moderate lessons
Miss Harold set him. It is true, he was two years
younger than Agnes: but she had known more of every-
thing that he had learned, at seven years old, than he
now did at eight. Hugh began to feel very unhappy.
He saw that Miss Harold was dissatisfied, and was pretty
gure that she had svcken to his mother about him. He



ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL, 9

felt that his mother became more strict in making him
sit down beside her, in the afternoon, to learn his lessona
for the next day; and he was pretty sure that Agnes
went out of the room because she could not help crying
when his sum was found to be all wrong, or when he
mistook his tenses, or when he said (as he did every day,
though regularly warned to mind what he was about)
that four times seven is fifty-six. Every day these things
weighed more on Hugh’s spirits; every day he felt more
and more like a dunce ; and when Philip came home for
the Midsummer holidays, and told all manner of stories
‘about all sorts of boys at school, without describing any-
thing like Hugh’s troubles with Miss Harold, Hugh was
seized with a longing to go to Crofton at once, as he was cer-
tainly too young to go at present into the way of a ship-
wreck or a battle. The worst of it was, there was no
prospect of his going yet to Crofton. In Mr. Tooke’s
large school there was not one boy younger than ten ;
and Philip believed that Mr. Tooke did not like to take
little boys. Hugh was aware that his father and mother
meant to send him to school with Philip by-and-by;
but the idea of having to wait—to do his lessons with
Miss Harold every day till he should be ten years old,
made him roll himself on the parlour carpet in despair.
Philip was between eleven and twelve. He was happy
at school: and he liked to talk all about it at home,
These holidays, Hugh made a better listener than even
his sisters ; and he was a more amusing one—he knew
80 little about the country. He asked every question
that could be imagined about the playground at the
Crofton school, and the boys’ doings out of school;
and then, when Philip fancied he must know all about



10 THE CROFTON BOYS.

what was done, out came some odd remark which showed
what wrong notions he had formed of a country life.
Hugh had not learned half that he wanted to know,
and his little head was full of wonder and mysterious
notions, when the holidays came to an end, and Philip had
to go away. From that day Hugh was heard to talk less
of Spain, and the sea, and desert islands, and more of the
Crofton boys; and his play with little Harry was all of
being at school. At his lessons, meantime, he did not
improve at all.

One very warm day, at the end of August, five weeks
after Philip had returned to school, Miss Harold had
stayed full ten minutes after twelve o'clock to hear
Hugh say one line of the multiplication-table over and
over again, to cure him of saying that four times seven
is fifty-six ; but all in vain: and Mrs. Proctor had begged
her not to spend any more time to-day upon it.

Miss Harold went away, the girls took their sewing,
and sat down at their mother’s work-table, while Hugh
was placed before her, with his hands behind his back,
and desired to look his mother full in the face, to begin
again with “four times one is four,’ and go through
the line, taking care what he was about. He did so;
but before he came to four times seven, he sighed,
fidgetted, looked up at the corners of the room, off into
the work-basket, out into the street, and always, as if by
a spell, finished with “ four times seven is fifty-six.” Jane
looked up amazed—Agnes looked down ashamed ; hig
mother looked with severity in his face. He began the
line a fourth time, when, at the third figure, he started
as if he had been shot. It was only a knock at the door
that he had heard ; a treble knock, which startled nobody



ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL. 11

else, though, from the parlour door being open, it sounded
pretty loud.

Mrs. Proctor spread a handkerchief over the stockings
in her work-basket ; Jane put back a stray curl which
had fallen over her face ; Agnes lifted up her head with
a sigh, as if relieved that the multiplication-table must
stop for this time; and Hugh gazed into the passage,
through the open door, when he heard a man’s step there.
The maid announced Mr. Tooke, of Crofton; and Mr,
Tooke walked in. 5

Mrs. Proctor had actually to push Hugh to one side,—
So directly did he stand in the way between her and her
visitor. He stood, with his hands still behind his back,
gazing up at Mr. Tooke, with his face hotter than the
multiplication-table had ever made it, and his eyes staring
quite as earnestly as they had ever done to find Robinson
Crusoe’s island in the map.

“Go, child,” said Mrs. Proctor: but this wags not
enough. Mr. Tooke himself had to pass him under his
left arm before he could shake hands with Mrs. Proctor.
Hugh was now covered with shame at this hint that he
was in the way ; but yet he did not leave the room. He
stole to the window, and flung himself down on two)
chairs, as if looking into the street from behind the blind;
but he saw nothing that passed out of doors, so eager was
his hope of hearing something of the Crofton boys,—theix
trap-ball, and their Saturday walk with the usher. Not
a word of this kind did he hear. As soon as Mr. Tooke
had agreed to stay to dinner, his sisters were desired to
carry their work elsewhere,—to the leads, if they liked ;
and he was told that he might go to play. He had hoped
he might be overlooked in the window; and unwillingly



12 THE CROFTON BOYS,

did he put down first one leg and then the other from the
chairs, and saunter out of the room. He did not choose
to go near his sisters, to be told how stupidly he had
stood in the gentleman’s way ; so, when he saw that they
were placing their stools on the leads, he went up into
the attic, and then down into the kitchen, to see where
little Harry was, to play at schoolboys in the back yard.

The maid Susan was not sorry that Harry was taken
off her hands ; for she wished to rub up her spoons, and
fill her castors afresh, for the sake of the visitor who had
come in, ‘The thoughtful Jane soon came down with the
keys to get outa clean table-cloth, and order a dish of
cutlets, in addition to the dinner, and consult with Susan
about some dessert ; so that, as the little boys looked up
from their play, they saw Agnes sitting alone at work
upon the leads.

They had played some time, Hugh acting a naughty
boy who could not say his Latin lesson to the usher, and
little Harry punishing him with far more words than a
real usher uses on such an occasion, when they heard
Agnes calling them from above their heads. She was lean-
ing over from the leads, begging Hugh to come up to her,
—that very moment. Harry must be left below, as the
leads were a forbidden place for him. So Harry went
to Jane, to see her dish up greengage plums which he
must not touch: and Hugh ran up the stairs. As he
passed through the passage, his mother called him. Full
of some kind of hope (he did not himself know what), he
entered the parlour, and saw Mr. Tooke’s eyes fixed on
him. But his mother only wanted him to shut the door
as he passed; that was all. It had stood open, as it
usually did on warm days. Could his mother wish it



ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL. 13

shut on account of anything she was saying? It was
possible,

“O Hugh!” exclaimed Agnes, as soon as he set foot on
the leads. “What do you think?—But is the parlour
door shut? Who shut it?”

“Mother bade me shut it, as I passed.”

“O dear!” said Agnes, in a tone of disappointment ;
“then she did not mean us to hear what they were talk-
ing about.”

“What was it? Anything about the Crofton boys? |
Anything about Phil ?”

“TJ cannot tell you a word about it. Mamma did not
know I heard them. How plain one can hear what they
say in that parlour, Hugh, when the door is open! What
do you think I heard mamma tell Mrs. Bicknor, last
week, when I was jumping Harry off the third stair ?”

“Never mind that. Tell me what they are talking
about now. Do, Agnes.”

Agnes shook her head.

* Now do, dear.”

It was hard for Agnes to refuse Hugh anything, at any
time ; more still when he called her “dear,” which he
seldom did ; and most of all when he put his arm round
her neck, as he did now. But she answered,—

“T should like to tell you every word; but I eannot
now. Mamma has made you shut the door. She docs
not wish you to hear it,”

“Me! Then will you tell Jane?”

“Yes. I shall tell Jane, when we are with mamma at
work.”

“That is too bad!” exclaimed Hugh, flinging himself
down on the leads so vehemently that his sister was



14 THE OROFTON BOYS.

afraid he would roll over into the yard. “What does
Jane care about Crofton and the boys to what I do?”

“There is one boy there that Jane cares about more
than you do, or I, or anybody, except papa and mamma,
Jane loves Phil.”

“O, then, what they are saying in the pelanied is about
Phil.”

“T did not say that.”

“You pretend you.love me as Jane loves Phil! and

now you are going to tell her what you wont tell me!
' Agnes, I will tell you everything I know all my whole
life, if you will just whisper this now. Only just whisper
—Or, I will tell you what. I will guess and guess;
and you can nod or shake your head. That wont be °
telling.”

“For shame, Hugh! Phil would laugh at you for being
a girl, if you are so curious. What mamma told Mrs.
Bicknor was that Jane was her right hand. What do
you think that meant exactly ?”

“That Jane might give you a good slap when you are
so provoking,” said Hugh, rolling over and over, till his
clothes were covered with dust, and Agnes really thought
once that he was fairly going over the edge into the yard.

“ There is something that I can tell you, Hugh ; some-
thing that I want to tell you, and nobody else,” said
Agnes, glad to see him stop rolling about, and raise him-
self on his dusty elbow to look at her.

“Well, come, what is it ?”

“You must promise beforehand not to be angry.”

“Angry! when am I angry, pray? Come, tell me.”

“You must—you really must—I have a particular
reason for saying so—you must learn how much four



ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL. 15

times seven is. Now, remember, you promised not to be
angry.”

Hugh carried off his anger by balancing himself on his
head, as if he meant, to send his heels over, but that there
was no room. From upside down, his voice was heard
saying that he knew that as well as Agnes.

“Well, then, how much is it ?”

“ Twenty-eight, to be sure. Who does not know that ?”

“Then pray do not call it fifty-six any more. Miss
Harold. ”

“There’s the thing,” said Hugh. “When Miss Harold
is here, I can think of nothing but fifty-six. It seems to
sound in my ears, as if somebody spoke it, ‘four times
seven is fifty-six.’ ”

“You will make me get it by heart, too, if you say it
so often,” said Agnes. “You had better say ‘twenty-
eight’ over to yourself all day long. You may say it to
me as often as you like. I shall not get tired. Come,
begin now—‘ four times seven: ni

“T have had enough of that for to-day—tiresome stuff !
Now, I shall go and play with Harry again.”

“But wait—just say that line once over, Hugh. Ihave
a reason for wishing it. I have, indeed.”

“Mother has been telling Mr. Tooke that I cannot say
my multiplication-table! Now, that is too bad!” ex-
claimed Hugh. “And they will make me say it after
' dinner! What a shame!” E

“Why, Hugh! you know mamma does not like—you
know mamma, would not—you know mamma, never does
anything unkind. You should not say such things, Hugh.”

" Ay, there! you cannot say that she has not told Mz.
Tooke that T say my tables wr ng.”







16. THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Well—you know you always do say it wrong to her.”

“TJ will go somewhere. I will hide myself. I willrun
to the market while the cloth is laying. I will get away,
and not come back till Mr. Tooke is gone. I will never
say my multiplication-table to him !”

“Never? said Agnes, with an odd smile and a sigh.
“ However, do not talk of running away, or hiding your-
self, You will not have to say anything to Mr. Tooke |
to-day.”

“ How do you know?”

“T feel sure you will not. I donot believe Mr. Tooke
will talk to you, or to any of us. There you go! You
will be in the water-butt in a minute, if you tumble so.”

“T don’t care if Lam. Mr. Tooke will not come there
to hear me say my tables. Let me go!” he cried, strug-
gling, for now Agnes had caught him by the ankle. “If
I do tumble in, the water is not up to my chin, and it
will be a cool hiding-place this hot day.”

“But there is Susan gone to lay the cloth; and you
must be brushed ; for you are all over dust. Come up,
and I will brush you.”

Hugh was determined to have a little more dust first,
He rolled once more the whole length of the leads, turned
over Jane’s stool, and upset her work-basket, so that her
thimble bounded off to a far corner, and the shirt-collar
she was stitching fell over into the water-butt.

“There ! what will Jane say?” cried Agnes, picking
up the basket, and peeping over into the small part of the
top of the water-butt which was not covered,

“There never was anything like boys for mischief,”
said the maid Susan, who now appeared to pull Hugh in,
and make him neat, Susan always found time, between



ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL. : W7

laying the cloth and bringing up dinner, to smooth
Hugh’s hair, and give a particular lock a particular turn
on his forehead with a wet comb.

“Tet that alone,” said Hugh, as Agnes peeped into
the butt after the drowning collar. “I will have the top
off this afternoon, and it will make good fishing for
Harry. and me.”

Agnes had to let the matter alone ; for Hugh was so
dusty that she had to brush one side of him while Susan
did the other. Susan gave him some hard knocks while
she assured him that he was not going to have Harry up
on the leads to learn his tricks, or to be drowned. She
hardly knew which of the two would be the worst for
Harry. It was lucky for Hugh that Susan was wanted
below directly, for she scolded him the whole time she
was parting and smoothing his hair. When it was done,
however, and the wet lock on his forehead took the right
turn at once, she gave him a kiss in the very middle of it,
and said she knew he would be a good boy before the
gentleman from the country.

Hugh would not go in with Agnes, because he knew
Mr. Tooke would shake hands with her, and take notice
of any one who was with her. He waited in the passage
till Susan carried in the fish, when he entered behind
her, and slipped to the window till the party took their
seats, when he hoped Mr. Tooke would not observe who
sgt between Agnes and his father. But the very first
thing his father did was to pull his head hack by the hair
behind, and ask him whether he had persuaded Mr.
Tooke to tell him all about the Crofton boys.

Hugh did not wish to make any answer ; but his father
said “Eh?” and he thought he must speak ; so he said

b



18 THE CROFTON BOYS.

that Phil had told him all he wanted to know about the
Crofton. boys.

“Then you can get Mr. Tooke to tell you about Phil,
if you want nothing else,” said Mr. Proctor.

Mr. Tooke nodded and smiled; but Hugh began to
hand plates with all his might, he was so afraid that the
next thing would be a question how much four times
seven was.

The dinner went on, however ; and the fish was eaten,
and the meat, and the pudding; and the dessert was on
the table, without any one having even alluded to the
multiplication-table. Before this time, Hugh had become
quite at his ease, and had looked at Mr. Tooke till he
knew his face quite well.

Soon after dinner Mr, Proctor was called away upon
business ; and Hugh slipped into his father’s arm chair,
and crossed one leg over the other knee, as he leaned
back at his leisure, listening to Mr. Tooke’s conversation
with his mother about the sort of education that, he con-
sidered most fit for some boys from India, who had only a
certain time to devote to school-learning. In the course
of this conversation some curious things dropped about
the curiosity of children from India about some things
very common here ;—their wonder at snow and ice, their
delight at being able to slide in the winter, and their
curiosity about the harvest and gleaning, now approach-
ing. Mr. Proctor came back just as Mr. Tooke was
telling of the annual holiday of the boys at harvest-time,
when they gleaned for the poor of the village. As Hugh
had never seen a cornfield, he had no very clear idea of’
harvest and gleaning ; and he wanted to hear all he could.
‘When obliged to turn out of the arm-chair, he drew a



ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL. 19

stool between his mother and Mr. Tooke: and presently
he was leaning on his arms on the table, with his face
close to Mr. Tooke’s, as if swallowing the gentleman's
words as they fell. This was inconvenient; and his
mother made him draw back his stool a good way.
Though he could hear very well, Hugh did not like this,
and he slipped off his stool, and came closer and closer.

“And did you say,” asked Mr. Proctor, “that your
youngest pupil is nine ?”

“Just nine ;—the age of my own boy. I could have
wished to have none under ten, for the reason you. know
of. But——”

““T wish,” cried Hugh, thrusting himself in go that
Mr. Tooke saw the boy had a mind to sit on his knee,—
“J wish you would take boys at eight and a quarter.”

“That is your age,” said Mr. Tooke, smiling and making
room between his knees.

“ How did you know? Mother told you.”

“No; indeed she did not,—not exactly. My boy was
eight and a quarter not very long ago ; and he ——”

“ Did he like being in your school ?”

“He always seemed very happy there, though he was
so much the youngest. And they teased him sometimes
for being the youngest. Now you know, if you came,
you would be the youngest, and they might tease you
for it.”

- “I don’t think I should mind that. What sort of
teasing, though ?”

“Trying whether he was afraid of things.”

“What sort of things ?”

“Being on the top of a wall, or up ina tree. And
then they sent. him errands when he was tired, or when he

bh 2



20 THE CROFTON BOYS.

wanted to be doing something else. They tried too
whether he could bear some rough things without
telling.”
- “ And did he ?”
“Yes, generally. On the whole, very well. I see they
' think him a brave boy now.”

“T think I could. But do not you meal take boys as
young as I am ?”

“Such is really my rule.”

It was very provoking, but Hugh was here called away
to fish up Jane’s work out of the water-butt. As he had
put it in, he was the proper person to get it out. ‘He
thought he should have liked the fun of it; but now he
was in a great hurry back, to hear Mr. Tooke talk. It
really seemed as if the shirt-collar was alive, it always
slipped away so when he thought he had it. Jane kept
him to the job till he brought up her work, dripping and
soiled. By that time tea was ready,—an carly tea,
because Mr. Tooke had to go away. Whatever was said
at tea was about politics, and about a new black dye which
some chemist had discovered ; and Mr. Tooke went away
directly after.

He turned round full upon Hugh, just as he was
going. Hugh stepped back, for it flashed upon him that
he was now to be asked how much four times seven was,
But Mr. Tooke only shook hands with him, and bade
him grow older as fast as he could.



WHY MR. TOOKE CAME. 21

CHAPTER II
WHY MR. TOOKE CAME,

Artrr tea the young people had to learn their lessous
for the next day. They always tried to get these done,
and the books put away, before Mr. Proctor came in on
his shop being shut, and the business of the day being
finished. He liked to find his children at liberty for a
little play, or half an hour of pleasant reading ; or, in
the winter evenings, for a dance to the music of his
violin. Little Harry had been known to be kept up far too
late, that he might hear the violin, and that his papa might
enjoy the fun of seeing him run about among the rest,
putting them all out, and fancying he was dancing. All
believed there would be time for play with papa to-night,
tea had been so much earlier than usual. But Agnes
soon feared there would be no play for Hugh. Though
Jane pored over her German, twisting her forefinger in
the particular curl which she always twisted when she
was deep in her lessons ; though Agnes rocked herself
on her chair, as she always did when she was learning by
heart ; and though Mrs, Proctor kept Harry quiet at the
other end of the room with telling him long stories, in a
very low voice, about the elephant and Brighton pier, in
the picture-book, Hugh could not learn his capital cities,
He even spoke out twice, and stopped himself when he
saw all the heads in the room raised in surprise. Then
he set himself to work again, and he said “ Copenhagen”
so often over that he was not likely to forget the word ;
but what country it belonged to he could not fix in his
mind, though Agnes wrote it down large on the slate,



22 THE CROFTON BOYS,

in hopes that the sight of the letters would help him ts
remember. Before he had got on to “Constantinople,”
the well-known sound was heard of the shop-boy taking
the shop-shutters out of their day-place, and Mr. Proctor
would certainly be coming presently. Jane closed her
. dictionary, and shook back her curls from over her eyes ;
Mrs. Proctor put down Harry from her lap, and let him
call for papa as loud as he would; and papa came
bustling in, and gave Harry a long, toss, and several
topplings over his shoulder, and yet Hugh was not ready.

“Come, children,” said Mr. Proctor to Agnes and
Hugh, “we have all done enough for to-day. Away
with books and slates !”

“ But, papa,” said Agnes, “Hugh has not quite done.
If he might have just five minutes more, Miss
Harold.

“Never mind what Miss Harold says! That is, you
girls must ; but between this and Michaelmas ”

He stopped short, and the girls saw that it was a sign
from their mother that made him do so. He imme-
diately proceeded to make so much noise with Harry,
that Hugh discovered nothing more than that he might
put away his books, and not mind Miss Harold this time.
If she asked him to-morrow why he had not got down
to “ Constantinople,” he could tell her exactly what his
father had said. So, merry was Hugh’s play this evening,
He stood so perfectly upright on his father’s shoulders,
that he could reach the top of his grandmamma’s picture,
and show by his finger-ends how thick the dust lay upon
the frame: and neither he nor his father minded being
told that he was far too old for such play.

In the midst of the fun, Hugh had a misgiving, more







WHY MR, TOOKE CAME, 23

than once, of his mother having something severe to say
to him when she should come up to his room, to hear
him say his prayer, and +o look back a little with him
upon the events of the day. Besides his consciousness
that he had done nothing well this day, there were grave
looks from his mother which made him think that she
was not pleased, with him. When he was undressing,
therefore, he listened with some anxiety for her footsteps,
and, when she appeared, he wag ready with his confession
of idleness. She stopped him in the beginning, saying
that she had rather not hear any more such confessions.
She had listened to too many, and had allowed him to
Spend in confessions some of the strength which should
have been applied to mending his faults. For the pre-
sent, while she was preparing a way to help him to
conquer his inattention, she advised him to say nothing
to her, or to any one else, on the subject; but this need
not prevent him from praying to God to give him
strength to overcome his great fault.

“Oh, mother! mother!” cried Hugh, in an agony,
“you.give me up! What shall I doif you will not help
me any more ?”

His mother smiled, and told him he need not fear any
such thing. It would be very cruel to leave off providing
him with food and clothes, because it gave trouble to do
80 ; and it would be far more cruel to abandon him to his
faults, for such a reason. She would never cease to help
him till they were cured : but, as all means yet tried had
failed, she must plan, some others ; and meantime she did
not wish him to become hardened to his faults, by talking
about them every night, when there was no amendment
during the day.



ot TIIE CROFTON BOYS.

Though she spoke very kindly, and kissed him before
she went away, Hugh felt that he was punished. He felt
more unhappy than if his mother had told him all she
thought of his idleness. Though his mother had told
him to go to sleep, and blessed him, he could not help
. crying a little, and wishing that he was a Crofton boy.
He supposed the Crofton boys all got their lessons done

wmehow, as a matter of course ; and then they could go
to sleep without any uncomfortable feelings or any tears.

In the morning all these thoughts were gone. He had
something else to think about; for he had to play with
Harry, and take care of him, while Susan swept and
dusted the parlour : and Harry was bent upon going into
the shop—a place where, according to the rule of the
house, no child of the family was ever to set foot, till it
was old enough to be trusted ; nor to taste anything there,
asked or unasked. There were some poisonous things in
the shop, and some few nice syrups and gums; and no
child could be safe and well there who could not let alone
whatever might be left on the counter, or refuse any nice
‘taste that a good-natured shopman might offer. Harry
was, as yet, far too young; but, as often as the cook
washed the floor-cloth in the passage, so that the inner
shop door had to be opened, Master Harry was seized
with an unconquerable desire to go and see the blue and
red glass bowls which he was permitted to admire from
the street, as he went out and came in from his walks,
Mr. Proctor came down this morning as Hugh was catch-
ing Harry in the passage. He snatched up his boys,
packed one under each arm, and ran with them into the
yard. where he rolled Harry up in a new mat, which the
cook was going to lay at the house-door.



WITY MR. TOOKE CAME. 25

“There !” said he. “Keep him fast, Hugh, till the
passage-door is shut. What shall we do with the rogue
when you aré at Crofton, I wonder ?”

“Why, papa! he will be big enough to take care of
himself by that time.”

“Bless me! I forgot again,” exclaimed Mr. Proctor,
as he made haste away into the shop.

Before long, Harry was safe under the attraction of his
basin of bread and milk ; and Hugh fell into a reverie at
the breakfast-table, keeping his spoon suspended in his
hand as he looked up at the windows, without seeing any-
thing. Jane asked him twice to hand the butter before
he heard. :

“He is thinking how much four times seven is,” ob-
served Mr. Proctor: and Hugh started at the words.

“T tell you what, Hugh,” continued his father ; “if
the Crofton people do not teach you how much four times
seven is when you come within four weeks of next Christ-
‘mas day, I shall give you up, and them too, for dunces
all.”

All the eyes round the table were fixed on Mr. Proctor
in an instant.

“ There now !” said he, “I have let the cat out of the
bag. Look at Agnes!” and he pinched her crimson
cheek.

Everybody then looked at Agnes, except Harry, who
was busy looking for the cat which papa said had come
out of mamma’s work-bag. Agnes could not bear the
gaze, and burst into tears.

“ Agnes has taken more pains to keep the secret than
her papa,” said Mrs. Proctor. “The secret is, that Hugh
is going to Crofton next month.”



26 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Am I ten, then?” asked Hugh, in his hurry and
surprise.

“Scarcely ; since you were only eight and a quarter
yesterday afternoon,” replied his father.

“T will tell you all about it by-and-by, my dear,” said
his mother. Her glance towards Agnes made all the
rest understand that they had better speak of something
else now. So Mr. Proctor beckoned Harry to come and
sée whether the cat had not got into the bag again, as
she was not to be seen anywhere else. It is true, the
bag was not much bigger than a cat’s head ; but that did
not matter to Harry, who never cared for that sort of
consideration, and had been busy for half an hour, the ~
day before, in trying to put the key of the house-door
into the key-hole of the tea-caddy.

By the time Agnes had recovered herself, and the table
was cleared, Miss Harold had arrived. Hugh brought
his books with the rest, but, instead of opening them,
rested his elbow on the uppermost, and stared full at
Miss Harold.

“Well, Hugh !” said she, smiling.

“T have not learned quite down to ‘ Constantinople,”
said he. “Papa told me I need not, and not to mind
you.”

“Why, Hugh! hush!” cried Jane.

“He did,—he said exactly that. But he meant, Miss
Harold, that I am to be a Crofton boy,—directly, next
raonth.”

“Then have we done with one another, Hugh? asked
Miss Harold, gently. “Will you not learn any more
from me?”

“That is for your choice, Mise Harold,” observed Miy



MICHAELMAS-DAY COME, 27

Proctor. “Hugh has not deserved the pains you have
taken with him; and if you decline more trouble with
him now he is going into other hands, no one can wonder.”

Miss Harold feared that he was but poorly prepared for
school, and was quite ready to help him, if he would give
his mind to the effort. She thought that play, or reading
books that he liked, was less waste of time than his com-
mon way of doing his lessons; but if he was disposed
really to work, with the expectation of Crofton before him,
she was ready to do her best to prepare him for the real
hard work he would have to do there.

His mother proposed that he should have time to con-
sider whether he would have a month’s holiday, or a
month’s work, before leaving home. She had to go out
this morning. He might go with her, if he liked; and,
as they returned, they would sit down in the Temple
Garden, and she would tell him all about the plan.

Hugh liked this beginning of his new prospects. He
ran to be made neat for his walk with his mother. He

. knew he must have the wet curl on his forehead twice

over to-day ; but he comforted himself with hoping that
there would be no time at Crofton for him to be kept
standing, to have his hair done so particularly, an@ to be
scolded all the while, and then kissed, like a baby, at
the end.



CHAPTER III.
MICHAELMAS-DAY COME.

Hue was about to ask his mother, again and again
during their walk, why Mr. Tooke let him go to Crofton
before he was ten; but Mrs. Proctor wag grave and



28 THE CROFTON noys.

silent; and though she spoke kindly to him now and
then, she did not seem disposed to talk. At last, they
were in the Temple Garden; and they sat down where
there was no one to overhear them; and then Hugh
looked up at his mother. She saw, and told him, what
it was that he wanted to ask.

“Tt is on account of the little boys themselves,” said
she, “that Mr. Tooke does not wish to have them very
young, now that there is no kind lady in the house who

could be like a mother to them.” :
“ But there is Mrs. Watson. Phil has told me a hun-

dred things about Mrs. Watson.”

“Mrs. Watson is the housekeeper. She is careful, I
know, about the boys’ health and comfort; but she has
no time to attend to the younger ones, as Mrs. Tooke did,
—hearing their little troubles, and being a friend to them
like their mothers at home.”

“There is Phil ——”

“Yes, You will have Phil to look to. But neither
Phil, nor any one else, can save you from some troubleg
you are likely to have from being the*youngest.”

“Such as Mr. Tooke told me his boy had ;—being put
on thestop of a high wall, and plagued when he was tired:
and all that. I don’t think I should much mind those
things.”

“So we hope, and so we believe. Your fault is not
cowardice :

Mrs. Proctor so seldom praised anybody that her words
ofesteem went a great way. Hugh first looked up at her
and then down on the grass,—his cheeks glowed so. She
went on—

“You have faults,—faults which give your father and







MICHAELMAS-DAY COME. 29

me great pain ; and though you are not cowardly about
being hurt in your body, you sadly want courage of a
better kind,—courage to mend the weakness of your mind.
You are so young that we are sorry for you, and mean to
send you where the example of other boys may give you
the resolution you want so much.”

“ All the boys learn their lessons at Crofton,” observed
Hugh.

“Yes; but not by magic. They have to give thiir
minds to their work. You will find it painful and difti-
cult to learn this, after your idle habits at home. I give
you warning that you will find it much more difficult
than you suppose ; and I should not wonder if you wish
yourself at home with Miss Harold many times before
Christmas.”

Mrs. Proctor was not unkind in saying this. She saw
that Hugh was so delighted about going that nothing
would depress his spirits, and that the chief fear was his
being disappointed and unhappy when she should be far
away. It might then be some consolation to him to re-
member that she was aware of what he would have to go
through. He now smiled, and said he did not think he
should ever wish to say his lessons to Miss Harold, as long
as he lived. Then it quickly passed through his mind
that, instead of the leads and the little yard, there would
be the playground ; and instead of the church’ bells, the
rooks ; and instead of Susan with her washing’ and comb-
ing, and scolding and kissing, there would be plenty of
boys to play with. As he thought of these things, he
started up, and toppled head over heels on the grass, and
then was up by his mother’s side again, saying that he
did not care about anything that was to lappen at Crof-



30 THE CROFTON BOYS.

ton ;—he was not afraid,—not even of the usher, though
Phil could not bear him.

“Tf you can bring yourself to learn your lessons well,”
said his mother, “you need not fear the usher. But re-
member, it depends upon that. You will do well enough
in the playground, I have no doubt.”

After this, there was enly to settle the time that was
to pass—the weeks, days, and hours before Michaelmas-
day; and whether these weeks and days should be
employed in preparing for Crofton under Miss Harold,
or whether he should take his chance there unprepared
as he was. Mrs. Proctor saw that his habits of inatten-
tion were so fixed, and his disgust at lessons in the par-
lour so strong, that she encouraged his doing no lessons
in the interval. Hugh would have said beforehand that
three weeks’ liberty to read voyages and travels, and play
with Harry, would have made him perfectly happy; but
he felt that there was some disgrace mixed up with his
holiday, and that everybody would dook upon him with
a sort of pity, instead of wishing him joy; and this
spoiled his pleasure a good deal. When he came home
from his walk, Agnes thought he looked less happy than
when he went out ; and she feared his spirits were down
about Crofton.

His spirits were up and down many times during the
next three weeks. He thought these weeks would never
be over. Every day dragged on more slowly than the
last; at every meal he was less inclined to eat; and his
happiest time was when going to bed, because he was a
day nearer Crofton. His mother, foreseeing just what
happened, wished to have kept the news from him till
within a week of his departure, and had agreed with Mr.



;



MICHAELMAS-DAY COME. 31

Proctor that it should be so. But Mr. Proctor hated
secrets, and, as we see, let it out immediately. I
At last, the day came ;—a warm, sunny, autumn day,
on which any one might have enjoyed the prospect of a
drive into the country. The coach was to set off from

‘an inn in Fileet-street at noon, and would set Hugh

down. at his uncle’s door in time for dinner, the distance
being twenty-eight mile&. His uncle’s house was just
two miles from the school. Phil would probably be there
to meet his brother, and take him to Crofton in the
afternoon.

How to get rid of the hours till noon was the ques-
tion. Hugh had had everything packed up, over which
he had any control, for some days. He had not left him-
self a plaything of those which he might carry: and it
frightened him that his mother did not seem to think of
packing his clothes till after breakfast this very morning,
When she entered his room for the purpose, he was
fidgeting about, saying to himself ‘that he should never
be ready. Agnes came with her mother, to help: but
before the second shirt was laid in the box, she was in
tears, and had to go away ; for every one in the house
was in the habit of hiding tears from Mrs. Proctor, who
rarely shed them herself, and was known to think that
they might generally be suppressed, and should be so.

As Hugh stood beside her, handing stockings and
handkerchiefs, to fill up the corners of the box, she
spoke as she might not have done if they had not been
alone. She said but a few words; but Hugh never for-
got them.

“You know, my dear,” said she, “that I do not
approve of dwelling upon troubles. You know I never



THE CROFTON BOYS.

encourage my “children to fret about what cannot he
helped.”

‘There was nothing in the world that Hugh was more
certain of than this.

“And yet I tell you,” she continued, “that you will
not be nearly so happy at Crofton as you expect—at
least, at first. It grieves me to see you so full of expec-
tation:

“ Does it indeed, mother ?

“Tt does indeed. But my comfort is

“You think I can bear it,” cried Hugh, holding up
his head. “You think I can bear anything.”

“T think you are a brave boy, onthe whole. But that
is not the comfort I was speaking of; for there is a world
of troubles too heavy for the bravery of a thoughtless
child, like you. My comfort is, my dear, that you know
where to go for strength when your heart fails you. You
will be away from your father and me ; but a far wiser
and kinder parent will be always with you. If-+I were
not sure that you would continually open your heart to
Him, I could not let you go from me.”

“JT will—I always do,” said Hugh, in a low voice.

“Then remember this, my boy. If you have that help,
you must not fail. Knowing that you have that help, I
expect of you that you do your own duty, and bear
your own troubles, like a man. If you were to be all
alone in the new world you are going to, you would be
but a helpless child: but remember, when a child makes
God his friend, God puts into the youngest and weakest
the spirit of a man.”

“You will ask Him too, mother ;—you will pray Him
to make me brave, and—and. 4











MICHAELMAS-DAY COME, 33

“ And what else?” she inquired, fixing her eyes upon
him.

“ And steady,” replied Hugh, casting down his eyes ;
“for that is what I want most of all.”

“Tt is,” replied his mother. “I do, and always will,
pray for you.”

Not another word was said till they went down into
the parlour. Though it was only eleven o'clock, Miss
Harold was putting on her bonnet to go away: and
there was a plate of bread and cheese on the table.

“Lunch !” said Hugh, turning away with disgust.

“Do eat it,” said Agnes, who had brought it. “You
had no breakfast, you know.”

“ Because I did not want it ; and I can’t eat anything

Jane made a sign to Agnes to take the plate out of
sight: and she put some biscuits into a paper bag, that
he might eat on the road, if he should become hungry.

Neither Miss Harold nor Hugh could possibly feel any
grief at parting ; for they had had little satisfaction to-
gether ; but she said very kindly that she should hope to
hear often of him, and wished he might be happy as a
Crofton boy. Hugh could hardly answer her ;—so amazed
was he to find that his sisters were giving up an hour of
their lessons on his account,—that they might go with
him to the coach !—And then Susan. came in, about the
cord for his box, and her eyes were red :—and, at the
sight of her, Agnes began to cry again ; and Jane bent
~ down her head over the glove she was mending for him,

and her needle stopped. ; oi

“Jane,” said her mother, gravely, “if you are not
mending that glove, give ittome. It is getting late.” -

c



34 “THE CROFTON BOYS,

Jane brushed her hand across her eyes, and stitched
away again. Then she threw the gloves to Hugh with-
out looking at him, and ran to get ready to go to the
coach.

The bustle of the inn-yard would not do for little
Harry. He could not go. Hugh was extremely sur-
prised to find that all the rest were going ;—that even
his father was smoothing his hat in the passage for the
walk,—really leaving the shop at noon on his account!
The porter was at his service too,—waiting for his box !
Tt was very odd to feel of such consequence.

Hugh ran down to bid the maids good-bye. The cook
had cut a sandwich, which she thrust into his pocket,
though he told her he had some biscuits. Susan cried so
that little Harry stood grave and wondering. Susan
sobbed out that she knew he did not care a bit about
leaving home and everybody.’ Hugh wished she would
not say so, though he felt it was true, and wondered at it
himself. Mr. Proctor heard Susan’s lamentations, and
called to her from the passage above not to make herself
unhappy about that ; for the time would soon come when
Hugh would be homesick enough.

Mr. Blake, the shopman, came to the shop-door as they
passed, and bowed and smiled ; and the boy put himself
in the way, with a broad grin: and then the party walked
on quickly.

The sun seemed to Hugh to glare very much ; and he
thought he had never known the streets so noisy, or the
people so pushing. The truth was, his heart was beating
so he could scarcely see : and yet he was so busy looking
about him for a sight of the river, and everything he
wished to bid good-bye to, that his father, who held him





MICHAELMAS-DAY COME. 35

fast by the hand, shook him more than once, and told him
he would run everybody down if he could,—to judge by
his way of walking. He must learn to march better, if
he was to be a soldier ; and to steer, if he was to be a
sailor.

There were just two minutes to spare when they
reached the inn-yard. The horses were pawing and
fidgeting, and some of the passengers had mounted : so
Mr. Proctor said he would seat the boy at once. He
spoke to two men who were on the roof, just behind the
coachman; and they agreed to let Hugh sit between
them, on the assurance that the driver would look to his
voncerns, and see that he was set down at the right
place.

“Now, my boy, up with you!” said his father, as he
turned from speaking to these men. Hugh was so eager,
that he put up his foot to mount, without remembering
to bid his mother and sisters good-bye. Mr. Deeie
laughed at this ; and nobody wondered ; but Agnes cried
bitterly ; and she could not forget it, from that time till
she saw her brother again. When they had all kissed
him, and his mother’s earnest look had bidden him re-
member what had passed between them that morning, he
was lifted up by his father, and received by the two men,
between whom he found a safe seat.

Then he wished they were off. It was uncomfortable
to see his sisters crying there, and not to be able to cry
too, or to speak to them. When the coachman was draw-
ing on his second glove, and the ostlers held each a hand
to pull off the horse-cloths, and the last moment was
come, Mr, Proctor swung himself up by the step, to say
one thing more. It was—

: 02

a



36 THE CROFTON BOYS,

“Tsay, Hugh,—can you tell me,—how much 1s four
times sgven ?”

Mrs. Proctor pulled her husband’s coat-tail, and he
leaped down, the horses’ feet scrambled, their heads
«ssued from the gate-way of the inn-yard, and Hugh’s
family were left behind. In the midst of the noise, the
man on Hugh’s right hand said to the one on his left,

“There is some joke in that last remark, I imagine.”

The other man nodded ; and then there was no more
speaking till they were off the stones. When the clatter
was over, and the coach hegan to roll along the smooth
road, Hugh’s neighbour repeated,

“There was some joke, I fancy, in that last remark
of your father’s.”

“Yes,” said Hugh.

“Are you in the habit of saying the multiplication-
table when you travel?” said the other. “If so, we shall
be happy to hear it.”

“ Exceedingly happy,” cbserved the first.

“T never say it when I can help it,” said Hugh; “and
I see no occasion now.”

The men laughed, and then asked him if he was
going far.

“To Crofton. Iam going to be a Crofton boy,” said
Hugh.

“A what? Where is he going? his companions
asked one another over his head. They were no wiser
when Hugh repeated what he had said ; nor could the
coachman enlighten them. He only knew that he was
to put the boy down at Shaw’s, the great miller’s, near
thirty miles along the road.

“ Hight-and-twenty,” said Hugh, in correction ; “and
Crofton is two miles from my uncle’s.”





MICHAELMAS-DAY COME, 37

“ Hight-and-twenty. The father’s joke lies there,” ob-
served the right-hand man.

“No, it does not,” said Hugh. He thought he was
among a set of very odd people,—none of them knowing
what a Crofton boy was. A passenger who sat beside the
coachman only smiled when he was appealed to; so it
might be concluded that he was ignorant too; and the
right and left-hand men seemed so anxious for informa-
tion, that Hugh told them all he knew ;—about the
orchard and the avenue, and the pond on the heath, and
* the playground ; and Mrs. Watson, and the usher, and

Phil, and Joe Cape, and Tony Nelson, and several others
of the boys.

One of the men asked him if he was sure he was going

' for the first time,—he seemed so thoroughly informed of
everything about Crofton. Hugh replied that it was a
good thing to have an elder brother like Phil. Phil had
told him just what to take to Crofton, and how to take
care of his money, and everything.

“ Ay! and how do the Crofton boys take care of their
money ?”

Hugh showed a curious little inner pocket in his
jacket, which nobody would dream of that did not know.
His mother had let him have such a pocket in both his
jackets ; and he had wanted to have all his money in this
one now, to show how safely he could carry it. But his
mother had chosen to pack up all his five shillings in his
box,—that square box, with the new brass lock, on the
top of all the luggage. In this pocket there was only six-
pence now, ies sixpence he was to give the coachman
when he was set down.

Then he went on to explain that this Poe was not
out oi his own money, but given him by his father,



38 THE CROFTON BOYS.

expressly for the coachman. Then his right-hand com-
panion congratulated him upon his spirits, and began. to
punch and tickle him ; and when Hugh writhed himself
about, because he could not bear tickling, the coachman
said he would have no such doings, and bade them be
quiet. Then the passengers seemed to forget Hugh, and
talked to one another of the harvest in the north, and the
hopping in Kent. Hugh listened about the hopping,
supposing it might be some new game, as good as leap-
frog; though it seemed strange that one farmer should
begin hopping on Monday, and that another should fix
Thursday ; and that both should be so extremely anxious
about the weather. But when he found it was some sort
of harvest-work, he left off listening, and gave all his
attention to the country sights that were about him. He
did not grow tired of the gardens, gay with dahlias and
hollyhocks, and asters: nor of the orchards, where the
ladder against the tree, and the basket under, showed that
apple-gathering ‘was going on; nor of the nooks in the
fields, where blackberries were ripening; nor of the
chequered sunlight and shadow which lay upon the road ;
nor of the breezy heath where the blue ponds were
ruffled ; nor of the pleasant grove where the leaves were
beginning to show a tinge of yellow and red, here and
there among the green. Silently he enjoyed all these
things, only awakening from them when there was a stop
to change horses.

He was not thinking of time or distance when he saw
the coachman glance round at him, and felt that the speed
of the horses was slackening. Still he had no idea that
this was any concern of his, till he saw something that
raade him start,





MICHAELMAS-DAY COME. 39

“Why, there’s Phil!” he exclaimed, jumping to his
feet.

“This is Shaw’s mill, and there is Shaw; which
is all I have to do with,” said the coachman, as he
pulled up.

Hugh was soon down, with his uncle and Phil, and one
of the men from the mill to help. His aunt was at the
window too ; so that altogether Hugh forgot to thank his
companions for his safe seat. He would have forgotten
his box, but for the coachman. One thing more he also

' forgot.

“T say, young: master,” said the driver ; “remember
the coachman. Where's your sixpence ?”

“Oh, my sixpence !” cried Hugh, throwing down what
he held, to feel in his curious inner pocket, which was
empty.

“Lest you finda hole in your pocket, here is a sixpence
for you,” cried the right-hand passenger, tossing him his
own sixpence. “Thank you for teaching us the secret

_ of such a curious pocket.”

The coachman was impatient, got his money, and drove
off, leaving Hugh to make out why he had been tickled,
and how his money had changed hands. With a very red
face, he declared it was too bad of the man: but the man
was out of his hearing, and could never know how angry
he was.

“A pretty story this is for our usher to have against
you, to begin with,” was Phil’s consolation, “Every boy
will know it before you show yourself; and you will
never hear the last of it, I can tell you.”

“Your usher !” exclaimed Hugh, bewildered.

“Yes, our usher. That was he on the box, beside



40 THE CROFTON BOYS.

coachee. Did not you find out that much in all these
eight-and-twenty miles ?”

“How should 1? He never told me.”

Hugh could hardly speak to his uncle and aunt, he
was so taken up with trying to remember what he had
said, in the usher’s hearing, of the usher himself, and
everybody at Crofton.

CHAPTER IV.
MICIHAELMAS-DAY OVER.

Mrs. Saw ordered dinner presently ; and while it was
being served, she desired Phil to brush his brother’s
clothes, as they were dusty from his ride. All the while
he was brushing (which he did very roughly), and all the
first part of dinner-time, Phil continued to tease Hugh
about what he had said on the top of the coach. Mrs.
Shaw spoke of the imprudence of talking freely before
strangers ; and Hugh could have told her that he did
not need such a lecture at the very time that he found
the same thing by his experience. He did wish Phil
would stop. If anybody should ask him a question, he
could not answer without crying. Then he remembered
how his mother expected him to bear things; and he
almost wished he was at home with her now, after all his
longing to be away. This thought nearly made him cry
again ; so he tried to dwell on how his mother would
expect him to bear things: but neither of them had
thought that morning, beside his box, that the first trial
would come from Phil. .This again made him so nearly
ery that his uncle observed his twitching face, and, with-
e





MICHAELMAS-DAY OVER. 4l

out noticing him, said that he, for his part, did not want
to see little boys wise before they had time to learn ;
and that the most silent companion he had ever been
shut up with in a coach was certainly the least agreeable:
and he went on to relate an adventure which has hap-
pened to more persons than one. He had found the
gentleman in the corner, with the shaggy coat, to be a
bear—a tame bear, which had to take the quickest mode
of conveyance, in order to be ata distant fair in good
time. Mr. Shaw spun out his story, so that Hugh quite
recovered himself, and laughed as much as anghods at
his uncle having formed a bad opinion of Bruin in the
early twilight, for his incivility in not bowing to the pas-
senger who left the coach.

After dinner, Phil thought it time to be off to Crofton.
He had missed something by coming away at all to-day ;
and he was not going to run the chance of losing the
top of the class by not having time to do his Sallust
properly. Mrs. Shaw said thoy must have some of her
plums before they went, and a glass of wine; and Mr.
Shaw ordered the gig, saying he would drive them, and
thus no time would be lost, though he hoped Phil would
not mind being at the bottom of every class for once to
help his brother, seeing how soon a diligent boy might
work his way up again. Phil replied that that was not
so easy as people might think, when there was one like
Joe Cape determined to keep him down, if he could once
get him down.

“T hope you will find time to help Hugh up from the
bottom, in a class or two,” said Mr. Shaw. “You will
not be mre busy about your own affairs to look to hig
I suppose.”



42 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Where is the use of my meddling?” said Phil. “He
can’t rise for years to come. Besides ”

“Why can’t I rise?” exclaimed Hugh, with glowing
cheeks,

“That is right, Hugh,” said his uncle. “Let nobody
prophesy for you till you show what you can do.”

“Why, uncle, he is nearly two years younger than any
boy in the school ; and im

“And there is little Page above you in algebra. He
is about two years younger than you, Phil, if I remember
right.”

Hugh could not help clapping his hands at the pro-
spect this held out to him. Phil took the act for
triumphing over him, and went on to say, very insult-
ingly, that a little fellow who had been brought up among
the girls all his life, and had learned of nobody but Miss
Harold, could not be expected to cut any figure’ among
boys. Hugh looked so grieved for a moment, and then
suddenly so relieved, that his kind uncle wondered what
was in his mind. He took the boy between his knees
and asked him.

Hugh loved his uncle already, as if he had always
known him. He put his arms round his neck, and
whispered in his ear what he was thinking of ;—his
mother's saying that God could and would, if He was
sought, put the spirit of a man into the feeblest child.

“True !—quite true! Iam very glad you know that,
my boy. ‘That will help you to learn at Crofton, though
it is better than anything they can teach you in their
schoolroom.”

Mrs. Shaw and Phil looked curious; but Mr. Shaw
did not repeat a word of what Hugh had said. He put









MICHAELMAS-DAY OVER. 43

the boy away from his knees, because he heard the gig
coming round.

Mrs, Shaw told Hugh that she hoped he would spead
some of his Sundays with his uncle and her; and his
uncle added that he must come on holidays as well as
Sundays,—there was so much to see about the mill.

Phil was amused, and somewhat pleased, to find how
exactly Hugh remembered his description of the place
and neighbourhood. He recognised the duck-pond under
the hedge by the road-side, with the very finest black-
berries growing above it, just out of reach. The church
he knew, of course, and the row of chesnuts, whose leaves
were just beginning to fall; and the high wall dividing
the orchard from the playground. That must have been
the wall on which Mr. Tooke’s little boy used to be placed -
to frighten him. It did not look so very high as Hugh
had fancied it. One thing which he had never seen or
heard of was the bell, under its little roof on the ridge
of Mr. Tooke’s great house. Was it to call in the boys
to school, or for an alarm? His uncle told him it might
serve the one purpose in the day, and the other by night:
and that almost every large farm thereabouts had such a
bellon the top of the house.

The sun was near its setting when they came in sight
of the Crofton house. A long range of windows glit-
tered in the yellow light, and Phil said that the lower
row all belonged to the school-room ;—that whole row.

In the midst of his explanations Phil stopped, and his
manner grew more rough than ever—with a sort of shy-
ness in it too. It was because some of the boys were
within hearing, leaning over the pales which separated
the playground from the road,



44 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Tsay ; hollo there!” cried one. “Is that Prater you
have got with you?”

“Prater the second,” cried another. “He could not
have had his name if there had not been Prater the
first.”

“There! there’s a scrape you have got me into
already !” muttered Phil.

“Be a man, Phil, and bear your own share,” said Mr.
Shaw ; “and no spite, because your words come back to
you !” ;

The talk at the palings still went on, as the gig rolled
quietly in the sandy by-road.

“Prater!” poor Hugh exclaimed. “What a mame!”

“Yes; that is you,” said his uncle. “You know now
what your nickname will be. Every boy has one or
another: and yours might have been worse, because you
might have done many a worse thing to earn it.”

“ But the usher, uncle ?”

“ What of him ?”

“ He should not have told about me.”

“Don’t call him ‘Prater the third’ however. Bear
your own share, as I said to Phil, and don’t meddle with
another's.”

Perhaps Mr. Shaw hoped that through one of the
boys the usher would get a new nickname for his ill-
nature in telling tales of a little boy, before he was so
much as seen by his companions. He certainly put it
into their heads, whether they would make use of it
ornot.

Mr. Tooke was out, taking his evening ride ; but Mz.
Shaw would not drive off till he had seen Mrs. Watson,
and introduced his younger nephew to her, observing to
her that he was but a little fellow to come among such





MICHAELMAS-DAY OVER. 45

anumber of rough boys. Mrs. Watson smiled kindly at
Hugh, and said she was glad he had a brother in the
school. to prevent his fecling lonely at first. It would
not take many days, she hoped, to make him feel quite
at home. Mr. Shaw slipped half-a-crown into Hugh’s
hand, and whispered to him to try to keep it safe in
his inner pocket. Hugh ran after him to the door, to
tell him that he had five shillings already—safe in his
box: but his uncle would not take back the half-crown.
He thought that, in course of time, Hugh would want all
the money he had.
_ Mrs. Watson desired Phil to show his brother where
he was to sleep, and to help him to put by his clothes
Phil was .in a hurry to get to his Sallust ; so that he
was not sorry when Mrs. Watson herself came up to see
that the boy’s clothes were laid properly in the deep
drawer in which Hugh was to keep his things. Phil then
slipped away.

“Dear me!” said Mrs. Watson, turning over one of
Hugh’s new collars, “we must have something different
from this. These collars tied with a black ribbon are
never tidy. They are always over one shoulder or the
other.”

“My sisters made them ; and they worked so hard to
get them done!” said Hugh.

“Very well—very right: only it is a pity they are not
of a better make. Every Sunday at church, I shall sce
your collar awry—and every time you go to your aunt’s,
she will think we do not make you neat. I must sce
about that. Here are good stockings, however—pro-
perly stout. My dear, are these all the shoes you have
got?” -

“T have a pair on.”





46 THE CROFTON BOYS,

“ Of course ; I don’t doubt that. We must have you
measured to-morrow for some boots fitter for the country
than these. We have no London pavement here.”

And so Mrs. Watson went on, sometimes approving
and sometimes criticising, till Hugh did -not know
whether to cry or to be angry. After all the pains his
mother and sisters had taken about his things, they were
to be found fault with in this way!

When his box was emptied, and his drawer filled, Mrs.
Watson took him into the school-room, where the boys
were at supper. Outside the door the buzz seemed pro-
digious, and Hugh hoped that, in such a bustle, nobody
would notice him. Here he was quite mistaken. The
moment he entered there was a hush, and all eyes were
turned upon him, except his brother’s. Phil hardly
looked up from his book ; but he made room for Hugh
between himself and another boy, and drew the great
plate of bread within reach. Mrs. Watson saw that
Hugh had his basin of milk; and he found it a good
thing to have something to do while so many eyes were
upon him. He felt that he might have cried if he had
not had his supper to eat.

The usher sat at the top of the table, reading. Mrs.
: Watson called his attention to Hugh ; and Hugh stood
_upand made his bow. His face was red, as much with
anger as timidity, when he recognised in him the pas-
senger who had sat beside the coachman.

“Perhaps, Mr. Carnaby,” said Mrs. Watson, “you will
find something for this young gentleman to do, when he
has had his supper, while the rest are learning their
lessons. ‘To-morrow he will have his own lessons ; but
to-night ”







MICHAELMAS-DAY OVER, 4T

“There is always the multiplication-table,” replied
Mr, Carnaby. “The young gentleman is partial to that,
I fancy.”

Hugh reddened, and applied-himself to his bread and °
milk.

“Never mind a joke,” whispered Mrs. Watson. “We
wont plague you with the multiplication-table the first
evening. I will find you a book or something. Mean-
time, there is a companion for you—I forgot that.”

The good lady went down the room, and brought back
a boy who seemed to be doing all he could to stop ery-
ing. He dashed his hand over his eyes every minute,
and could not look anybody in the face. He had finished
his supper, and was at a loss what to do next, as he had
only arrived that morning, and did not know anybody at
Crofton. His name was Tom Holt, and he was ten
years old.

When they had told their names and ages, and where
they came from, the boys did not know what to say
next ; and Hugh wished Phil would stop murmuring over
his Sallust and looking in the dictionary every minute ;
but Mrs. Watson did not forget the strangers. She
brought them Cook’s Voyages out of the library, to
amuse themselves with, on condition of their delivering
the book to Mr. Carnaby at bedtime.

The rest of the evening passed away very pleasantly.
Hugh told Holt a great deal about Broadstairs and the
South Sea Islands, and confided to him his own hopes of
being a sailor, and going round the world; and, if pos-
sible, making his way straight through China,—the most
difficult country left to travel in, he believed, except some
-arts of Africa. He did not want to cross the Great



48 THE CROFTON BOYS..

Desert, on account of the heat. He knew something of
what that was by the leads at home, when the sun was on
them. What was the greatest heat Holt had ever felt
Then came the surprise. Holt had last come from his
uncle’s farm ; but he was born in India, and had lived
there till eighteen months ago. So, while Hugh had chat-
tered away about the sea at Broadstairs, and the heat
on the leads at home, his companion had come fourteen
thousand miles over the ocean, and had felt a heat nearly
as extreme as that of the Great Desert! Holt was very
unassuming too. He talked of the heat of gleaning in
his uncle’s harvest-fields, and of the kitchen when the
harvest-supper was cooking; owning that he remem-
bered he had felt hotter in India. Hugh heaped questions
upon him about his native country and the voyage ; and
Holt liked to be asked: so that the boys were not at all
like strangers just met for the first time. - They raised
their voices in the eagerness of their talk, from a whisper
so as to be heard quite across the table, above the hum
and buzz of above thirty others, who were learning their
lessons half-aloud. At last Hugh was startled by hear-
ing the words “ Prater,” “Prater the second.” He was
silent instantly, to Holt’s great wonder.

Without raising his eyes from his book, Phil ae SO as
to be heard as ae as the usher,—

“Who prated of Prater the second? Who is Prater
the third ?”

There was a laugh which provoked the usher to come
and see whereabouts in Sallust such a passage as this was
to be found. Not finding any such, he knuckled Phil's
head, and pulled his hair, till Hugh cried out—

£0, don’t, sir} Don’t hurt him go!”





MICHAELMAS-DAY OVER. 49

“Do you call that hurting? You will soon find what
hurting is, when you become acquainted with our birch,
You shall have four times seven with our birch Let
us see,—that is your favourite number, I think.”

The usher looked round, and almost everybody laughed.

* You see I have your secret ;—four times seven,” con-
tinued Mr. Carnaby. “What do you shake your head
for ?”

“ Because you have not my secret about four times
seven.”

“Did not I hear your father? Eh?”

“What did you hear my father say? Nobody here
knows what he meant? and nobody need know, unless I
choose to tell—which I don’t.—Please don’t teaze Phil
about it, sir: for he knows no more about it than you
do.”

Mr. Carnaby said something about the impertinence of
little boys, as if they could have secrets, and then declared
it high time that the youngsters should go to bed. Hugh
delivered Cook’s Voyages into his hands, and then bade
Phil good night. He was just going to put his face up to
be kissed, but recollected in time that he was to leave off
kissing when he went to school. He held out his hand,
but Phil seemed not to see it, and only told him to be
sure to lie enough on one side, so as to leave him room ;
and that he was to take the side of the bed next the
window. Hugh nodded and went off, with Holt and twe
more, who slept in the same room,

The two who were not new boys were in bed in 4
minute ; and When they saw Hugh wash his face and
hands, they sat up in bed to stare. One of them told him
that he had better not do that, as the maid would be

a’





50 THE CROFTON BOYS.

coming for the light, and would leave him in the dark,
and report of himif he was not in bed. So Hugh made a
great splutter, and did not half dry his face, and left the
water in the basin;—a thing which they told him was
not allowed. He saw that the others had not kneeled
down to say their prayers,—a practice which he had never
omitted since he could say a prayer, except when he had
the measles. He knew the boys were watching him ; but
he thought of his mother, and how she had taught him to
pray at her knee. He hid himself as well as he could
with the scanty bed-curtains, and kneeled. He could not
attend to the words he said, while feeling that eyes were
upon him ; and before he had done, the maid came in for
the candle. She waited; but when he got into bed, she
told him that he must be quicker to-morrow night, as
she had no time to spare waiting for the candle.

Hugh was more tired than he had ever been in his
life. This had been the longest day he had ever known.
It seemed more like a week than a day. Yet he could
not go to sleep. He had forgotten to ask Phil to be sure
and wake him in time in the morning: and now he mst
keep awake till Phil came, to say this. Then, he could
not but ask himself whether he liked, and should like,
being at school as much as he expected; and when he
felt how very unlike home it was, and how rough every-
body seemed, and how Phil appeared almost as if he was
ashamed of him, instead of helping him, he was so mise-
rable he did not know what to do. He cried bitterly,—
cried till his pillow was quite wet, and he was almost
choked with his grief; for he tried hard not to let his
sobs be heard. After awhile, he felt what he might do.
Though he had kneeled he had not really prayed: and if





MICHAELMAS-DAY OVER. - 51

he had, God is never weary of prayers. It was a happy
_ thought to Hugh that his very best friend was with him
still, and that he might speak to Him at any time. He
spoke now in his heart ; and a great comfort it was. , He
said——

“O God, I am all alone here, where nobody knows me;
_ and everything is very strange and uncomfortable. Please,

make people kind to me till I am used to them; and
_ keep up a brave heart in me, if they are not. Help me
not to mind little things; but to do my lessons well, that
I may get to like being a Crofton boy, as I thought I
should. I love them all at home very much,—better
_ than I ever did before. Make them love me, and think
_ ofme every day,—particularly Agnes,—that they may be
_ as glad as I shall be when I go home at Christmas.”
This was the most of what he had to say; and ho
_ dropped asleep with the feeling that God was listening
to him.

After a long while, as it seemed to him, though it was
_ only an hour, there was a light and some bustle in the
' room. It was Philand two others coming to bed.
“O Phil!” cried Hugh, starting bolt upright and

__ winking with sleep,—“I meant to keep awake, to ask you

to be sure and call me in the morning, time enough, —-
quite time enough, please.”

The others inaghba’ and Phil asked whether he had
not seen the bell, as he came ; and what it should be for
but to ring everybody up afihe morning.

“ But I might not hear it,” pleaded Hugh.

“Not hear it? You'll soon see that.”

“Well, but you will see that I really do wake, wont
you?”

d2



52 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“The bell will take care of that, I tell you,’ was all he
could get from Phil.

(IEE AN IOMNIDIR, We

CROFTON PLAY.

‘luau found, in the morning, that there was no danger of
his not hearing the bell. Its clang clang startled him out of
a sound sleep ; and he was on his feet on the floor ~lmost
before his eyes were open. The boys who were more
used to the bell did not make quite so much haste. They
yawned a few times, and turned out more slowly; so that
Hugh had the great tin wash basin to himself longer than
the rest. There was a basin to every three boys; and,
early as Hugh began, his companions were impatient long
before he had done. At first, they waited, in curiosity to
see what he was going to do after washing his face ; when
he went further, they began to quiz; but when they found
that he actually thought of washing his feet, they hooted
and groaned at him for a dirty brat.

“ Dirty !” cried Hugh, facing them, amazed, “ Dirty for
washing my feet! Mother says it is a dirty trick not to
wash all over every day.” .

Phil told him that was stuff and nonsense here. There
was no room and no time for such home-doings. The
boys all washed their heads and feet on Saturdays. He
would soon find that he might be glad to get his face and
hands done in the mornings.

The other boys in the room were, or pretended to be,
so disgusted with the very idea of washing feet in a basin,
that they made Hugh rinse and rub out the tin basin





CROFTON PLAY. 53

several times before they would use it, and then ther2 was
a great bustle to get down stairs at the second bell.
Hugh pulled his brother’s arm, as Phil was brushing out
of the room, and asked, in a whisper, whether there
would be time to say his prayers. i
~ “There will be prayers in theschool-room. You must
be in time for them,” said Phil. “ You had better come
with me.”

“Do wait one moment, while I just comb my hair.”

Phil fidgeted, and others giggled, while Hugh tried to
part his hair, as Susan had taught him. Me gave it up,
and left it rough, thinking he would come up and do it
when there was nobody there to laugh at him.

The school-room looked chilly and dull, as there was no
sunshine in it till the afternoon ; and still Mr. Tooke was
not there, as Hugh had hoped he would be. Mrs. Watson
and the servants came in for prayers, which- were well
read by the usher ; and then everybody went to business :
—everybody but Hugh and Holt, who had nothing to do.
Class after class came up for repetition ; and this repeti-
tion seemed to the new boys an accomplishment they
should never acquire. They did not think that any prac-
tice would enable them to gabble, as everybody seemed

able to gabble here. Hugh had witnessed something of it

before,—Phil having been wont to run off at home, “Sal,
Sol, Ren et Splen,” to the end of the passage, for the
admiration of his sisters, and so much to little Harry’s
amusement, that Susan, however busy she might be, came
to listen, and then asked him to say it again, that cook
might hear what he learned at school. Hugh now
thought that none of them gabbled quite so fast as Phil:
but he soon found out, by a glance or two of Phil’s to one



54 THE CROFTON BOYS.

side, that he was trying to astonish the new boys. It is
surprising how it lightened Hugh’s heart to find that his
brother did not quite despise, or feel ashamed of him, as
he had begun to think: but that he even took pains to
show off. He was sorry too when the usher spoke
sharply to Phil, and even rapped his head with the cane,
asking him what he spluttered out his nonsense at that
rate for. Thus ended Phil’s display ; and Hugh felt as
hot, and as ready to cry, as if it had happened to himself,

Perhaps the usher saw this ; for when he called Hugh
up, he was very kind. He looked at the Latin grammar
he had used with Miss Harold, and saw by the dogs’-ears
exactly how far Hugh had gone in it, and asked him
only what he could answer very well. Hugh said three
declensions, with only one mistake. Then he was shown
the part that he was to say to-morrow morning; and
Hugh walked away, all the happier for having something
to do, like everybody else. He was-so little afraid of the
usher, that he went back to him to ask where he had
better sit.

“Sit! O! Isuppose you must have a desk, though
sou have nothing to put init. If there is a spare desk,
you shall have it: if not, we will find a corner for you
somewhere.”

Some of the boys whispered that Mrs. Watson’s foot-
stool, under her apron, would do: but the usher over-
heard this, and observed that it took some people a good
while to know a new boy ; and that they might find that
a little fellow might be as much of a man asa big one.
And the usher called the oldest boy in the school, and
asked him to see if there was a desk for little Proctor
There was: and Hugh put into it his two or three





CROFTON PLAY. 55

school-books, and his slate; and felt that he was now
indeed a Crofton boy. Then, the usher was kinder than
he had expected; and he had still to see Mr. Tooke, of
whom he was not afraid at all. So Hugh’s spirits rose,
and he liked the prospect of breakfast as well as any boy
in the school.

There was one more rebuff for him, first, however. He
ran up to his room, to finish combing his hair, while the
other boys were thronging into the long room to break-
fast. He found the housemaids there, making the beds ;
and they both cried “Out! Out!” and clapped their
hands at him, and threatened to tell Mrs. Watson of his
having broken rules, if he did not go this moment. Hugh
asked what Mrs. Watson would say to his hair, if he went to
breakfast with it as it was. One of the maids was good-
natured enough to comb it for him, for once : but she said
he must carry a comb in his pocket ; as the boys were not
allowed to go to their rooms, except at stated hours.

At last, Hugh saw Mr. Tooke. When the boys entered
school at nine o'clock, the master was at his desk. Hugh
went up to his end of the room, with a smiling face, while
Tom Holt hung back; and he kept beckoning Tom Holt
on, having told him there was nothing to be afraid of.
But when, at last, Mr. Tooke saw them, he made no
difference between the two, and seemed to forget having
ever seen Hugh. He told them he hoped they would be
good boys, and would do credit to Crofton ; and then he
asked Mr. Carnaby to set them something to learn. And
this was all they had to do with Mr. Tooke for a long while.

This morning in school, from nine till twelve, seemed
the longest morning these little boys had ever known.
When they remembered that the afternoon would be as



56 THE CROFTON BOYS.

long, and every morning and afternoon for three months,
their hearts sank. Perhaps, if any one had told them
that the time would grow shorter and shorter by use, and
at last, when they had plenty to do, almost too short,
they would not have believed it, because they could not
yet feel it. But what they now found was only what
every boy and girl finds, on beginning school, or entering
upon any new way of life.

Mr. Carnaby, who was busy with others, found it
rather difficult to fill up their time. When Hugh had
said some Latin, and helped his companion to learn his
first Latin lesson, and both had written a copy, and done
asum, Mr. Carnaby could not spare them any more time
or thought, and told them they might do what they liked,
if they only kept quiet, till school was up. So they made
out the ridiculous figures which somebody had carved
upon their desks, and the verses, half-rubbed out, which
were scribbled inside: and then they reckoned, on their
slates, how many days there were before the Christmas
holidays ;—how many school-days, and how many Sun-
days. And then Hugh began to draw a steamboat in the
Thames, as seen from the leads of his father’s house ; while
Holt drew on his slate the ship in which he came over
from India. But before they had done, the clock struck
twelve, school was up, and there was a general rush into
the playground.

Now Hugh was really to see the country. Except
that the sun had shone pleasantly into his room in the
morning, through waving trees, nothing had yet occurred
to make him feel that he was in the country. Now, how-
ever, he was in the open air, with trees sprinkled all over
the landscape, and green fields stretching away, and the



”

CROFTON PLAY. 57

old church tower half-covered with ivy. Hugh screamed
with pleasure ; and nobody thought it odd, for almost
every boy was shouting. Hugh longed to pick up some
of the shining brown chesnuts which he had seen yester-
day in the road, under the trees ; and he was now canter-
ing away to the spot, when Phil raw after him, and
roughly stopped him, saying he would get into a fine
scrape for the first day, if he went out of bounds.

Hugh had forgotten there were such things as bounds,
and was not at all glad to he reminded of them now.
He sighed as he begged Phil to show him exactly where
he might go and where he might not. Phil did so in an
impatient way, and then was off to trap-ball, because his
party were waiting for him.

The chesnut-trees overhung one corner of the play-
ground, within the paling: and in that corner Hugh
found several chesnuts which had burst their sheaths,
and lay among the first fallen leaves. He pocketed
them with great delight, wondering that nobody had been
before him to secure such a treasure. Agnes should have
some ; and little Harry would find them nice playthings.
They looked good to eat too; and he thought he could
spare one to taste: so he took out his knife, cut off the
point of a fine swelling chesnut, and tasted a bit of the
inside. Justas he was making a face over it, and won-
dering that it was so nasty, when those which his father
roasted in the fire-shovel on Christmas-day were so good,
he heard laughter behind him, and found that he was
again doing something ridiculous, though he knew not
what; and in a moment poor Hugh was as unhappy as
ever. i

He ran away from the laughing boys, and went quite

s



58 THE CROFTON BOYS.

to the opposite corner of the playground, where a good
number of his schoolfellows were playing ball under the
orchard wall. Hugh ran hither and thither, like the
rest, trying to catch the ball ; but he never could do it;
and he was jostled, and thrown down, and another boy

fell over him ; and he was told that he knew nothing ©

about play, and had better move off.

He did so, with a heavy heart, wondering how he was
ever to be like the other boys, if nobody would take him
in hand, and teach him to play, or even let him learn.
Remembering what his mother expected of him, he tried
to sing, to prevent crying, and began to count the pales
round the playground, for soniathing to do. This pre-
sently brought him to a tree aduahi stood on the very
boundary, its trunk. serving instead of two or three pales.
It was only a twisted old apple-tree; but the more
twisted and gnarled it was, the more it looked like a tree
that Hugh could climb ; and he had always longed to
climb a tree. Glancing up, he saw a boy already there,
sitting on the fork of two branches, reading.

“Have you a mind to come up ?” asked the boy.

“Yes, sir, I should like to try to climb a tree. I never
did.”

“Well, this is a good one to begin with. Tl lend you
a hand; shall I?”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Don’t call me, ‘sir.’ I’m only a schoolboy, like you.
Tam Dan Firth. Call me Firth, as I am the only one of
the name here. You are little Proctor, I think—Proctor’s
brother.”

“Yes: but, Firth, I shall pull you down, if I slip.”

“Not you: but Pil come down, and so send you up

2





CROFTON PLAY. 59

i. é my seat, which is the safest te begin with. Stand
off.”

_ Firth swung inmeclh down, and then, showing Hugh
_ where to plant his feet, and propping him when he wanted
_ it, he soon seated him on the fork, and laughed good-
_ naturedly when Hugh waved his cap over his head, on
occasion of being up in a tree. He let him get down
_ and up again several times, till he could do it quite alone,
and felt that he might have a seat here whenever it was
— not occupied by any one else.

_ While Hugh sat in the branches, venturing to leave
_ hold with one hand, that he might fan his hot face with
his cap, Firth stood on the rail of the palings, holding
by the tree, and talking to him. Firth told him that
_ this was the only tree the boys were allowed.to climb,
F since Ned Reeve had fallen from the great ash, and hurt
_ hisspine. He showed what trees he had himself climbed
before that accident ; and it made Hugh giddy to think
_ of being within eight feet of the top of the lofty elm in
_ the chwrch-yard, which Firth had thought nothing of
_ mounting.

“Did anybody teach you?” asked Hugh.

“Yes; my father taught me to climb, when I was
younger than you.”

“ And had youanybody to teach you games and things,
when you came here ?”

“No: but I had learned a good deal of that before I
came ; and so I soon fell into the ways here. Have you
Eee body to teach you ?”

F “ No——yes why,no. I thought Phil would have
_. Showed me things ; but he does not seem to mind me at
all.” And Pah bit his lip, and fanned himself faster.





60 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Ah! he attends to you more than you think.”

“Does he? Then why. but what good does it do
me ?”

“What good? His holding off makes you push your
own way. It lets you make friends for vourself.”

“T have no friends here,” said Hugh.

“Yes, you have. Heream I. You would not have had
me, if you had been at Proctor’s heels at this moment.”

“Will you be my friend, then ?”

“That I will.”

“What, a great boy like you, that sits reading in a



tree! But I may read here beside you. You said there —

was room for two.”

“Ay; but you must not use it yet,—at least, not
often, if you wish to do well here. Everybody knows I
can play at anything. From the time I became cap-
tain of the wall at fives, I have had liberty to do what
I like, without question. But you must show that you
are up to play, before they will let you read in peace and
quiet.”

“But how can I, if i

“Once show your spirit,—prove that you can shift for
yourself, and you will find Phil open out wonderfully.
He and you will forget all his shyness then. Once shew
him that he need not be ashamed of you ”

“ Ashamed of me!” cried Hugh, firing up.

“Yes. Little boys are looked upon as girls in a school
tillthey show that they are little men. And then again,
you have been brought up with girls,—have not you?”

“To be sure ; and so was he.”

“ And half the boys here, I dare say. Well, they are
called Bettys till——”

”











|
|



CROFTON PnAyY. 61




“T am not a Betty,” cried Hugh, flashing again.
“They suppose you are, because you part your hair, and

; “What business have they. with my hair? I might as
_ wellcall them Bruins for wearing theirs shaggy.”

_ Verytrue. They will let you and your hair alone
when they see what you are made of; and then Phil.
- will—”

_ “He will own me when I don't want it; and now,
_ when he might help me, there he is, far off, never caring
about what becomes of me !”

_ “Ovyes, he does. He is watching you all the time

You and he will have it all out some day before Christ-
_ mas, and then you will see how he really cares about you.

_ Really your hair is very long,-—too like a girl’s. Shall I
cut it for you?”

TJ should like it,” said Hugh, “but I don’t want the
boys to think I am afraid of them; or to begin giving
up to them.”

_ You are right there. We will let it alone now, and
cut it when it suits our convenience.”

“What a nice place this is, to be sure!” cried Hugh,
as the feeling of loneliness went off. “But the rooks do
not make so much noise as I expected.”

“You will find what they can do in that way when
spring comes,—when they are building.”

“ And when may we. go out upon the heath, and into
_ the fields where the lambs are ?”

“We go long walks on Saturday afternoons ; out you
do not expect to see young lambs in October, do you?
“O, I forgot. I never can remember the seasons for
things.” er

-



62 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“ That shows you are a Londoner. You will learn all
those things here. If you look for hares in our walks,
you may chance to see one ; or you may start a pheasant;
but take care you don’t mention lambs, or goslings, or
cowslips, or any spring things ; or you will never hear the
last of it.”

“Thank you: but what will poor Holt do? He is
from India, and he knows very little about our ways.”

‘*They may laugh at him; but they will not despise
him, as they might a Londoner. Being an Indian, and
being a Londoner, are very different things.”

“And yet how proud the Londoners are over the
country! It is very odd.”

“ People are proud of their own ways all the world over.
You will be proud of being a Crofton boy, by-and-by.”

“ Perhaps I am now, a little,” said Hugh, blushing.

“What, already? Ah! you will do, I see. I have
known old people proud of their age, and young people of
their youth. I have seen poor people proud of their
poverty ; and everybody has seen rich people proud of
their wealth. I have seen happy people proud of their
prosperity, and the afflicted proud of their afflictions.
Yes; people can always manage to be proud: so you
have boasted of being a Londoner up to this time;
and from this time you will hold your head high as a
Crofton boy.”

“Tow long? Till when?”

“Ah! till when? What next! What do you mean
to be afterwards ?” : ’

“A soldier, or a sailor, or a great traveller, or some-
thing of that kind. I mean to go quite round the world,
like Captain Cook.”





CROFTON PLAY. 63

“Then you will come home, proud of having been
round the world; and you will meet with some old
neighbour who boasts of having spent all his life in the
house he was born in.” :

“Old Mr. Dixon told mother that of himself, very
lately. Oh dear, how often does the postman come?”

“You want a letter from home,do you? But you left
them only yesterday morning.”

“T don’t know how to believe that,—it seems such an
immense time! But when does the postman come?”

“ Any day when he has letters to bring,—at about four
in the afternoon. We see him come, from the school-
room ; but we do not know who the letters are for till
school breaks up at five.”

“O dear!” cried Hugh, thinking what the suspense
must be, and the disappointment at last to twenty boys,
perhaps, for one that was gratified. Firth advised him to
write a letter home before he began to expect one. If
he did not like to ask the usher, he himself would rule
the paper for him, and he could write a bit at a time,
after his lessons were done in the evening, till the sheet
was full.

Hugh then told his grievance about the usher, and
Firth thought that though it was not wise in Hugh to
prate about Crofton on the top of the coach, it was worse
to sit by and listen without warning, unless the listener
meant to hold his own tongue. But he fancied the usher
_ had since heard something which made him sorry; and
the best way now was for Hugh to bear no malice, and
remember nothing more of the affair than to be discreet
in his future journeys.

“What is the matter there ?” cried Hugh. “O dear!



64 THE CROFTON BOYS.

something very terrible must have happened. How that
boy is screaming !”

“Tt is only Lamb again,” replied Firth. “You will
soon get used to his screaming. He is a very passionate
boy—I never saw such a passionate fellow.”

“But what are they doing to him?”

“Somebody is putting him into a passion, I suppose,
There is always somebody to do that.”

“What a shame !” cried Hugh.

“Yes: I see no wit in it,” replied Firth. “ Anybody
may do it. You have only to hold your little finger up
to put him in a rage.”

Hugh thought Firth was rather cool about the matter.
But Firth was not so cool when the throng opened for a
moment, and showed what was really done to the angry
boy. Only his head appeared above ground. His school-
fellows had put him into a hole they had dug, and had
filled it up to his chin, stamping down the earth, so that
the boy was perfectly helpless, while wild with rage.

“That is too bad !” cried Firth. “That would madden
a saint.”

And he jumped down from the paling, ana ran to.
wards the crowd. Hugh, forgetting his height from the
ground, stood up in the tree, almost as angry as Lamb
himself, and staring with all his might to see what he
could. He saw Firth making his way through the crowd,
evidently remonstrating, if not threatening. He saw
him snatch a spade from a boy who was flourishing it in
Lamb’s face. He saw that Firth. was digging, though
half-a-dozen boys had thrown themselves on his back, and
hung on his arms. He saw that Firth persevered till
Lamb had got his ea arm out of the ground, and was





CROFTON PLAY. 65

-triking everywhere within reach. Then he saw Firth
Becca down and away, while the boys made a circle
round Lamb, putting a foot or hand within his reach, and
then snatching it away again, till the boy yelled with
rage at the mockery.

iogh could look on no longer. He scrambled down
from the tree, seampered to the spot, burst through the
throng, and seized Lamb’s hand. Lamb struck him a
heavy blow, taking him for an enemy; but Hugh cried
“T am your friend,” seized his hand again, and tugged
till he was first red and then black in the face, and till
Lamb had worked his shoulders out of the hole, and
seemed likely to have the use of his other arm ina trice.

Lamb’s tormentors at first let Hugh alone in amaze-
ment ; but they were not long in growing angry with
him too. They hustled him—they pulled him all ways—
they tripped him up; but Hugh’s spirit was roused, and
that brought his body up to the struggle again and again.
He wrenched himself free, he aed to his feet
again, as often as he was thrown down; and in a few
minutes he had plenty of support. Phil was taking his
part, and shielding him from many blows. Firth had got
Lamb out of the hole; and the party against the tor-
mentors was now so strong that they began to part off
till the struggle ceased. Firth kept his grasp cf the
spade ; for Lamb’s passion still ran so high that there
was no saying what might be the consequences of leaving
any dangerous weapon within his reach, He was still
funing and stamping, Hugh soning at him the while in
wonder and fear.

“There stands your defender, Lamb,” said Firth,
“thinking he never saw a boy in a passion before. Come,

% e



66 THE CROFTON BOYS.

have done with it for his sake: be a man, as he is. Here,
help me to fill up this hole—both of you. Stamp down
the earth, Lamb. Tread it well—tread your anger well
down into it. Think of this little friend of yours here—
a Crofton boy only yesterday !”

Lamb did help to fill the hole, but he did not say a
word—not one word to anybody, till the dinner-bell rang.
Then, at the pump, where the party were washing their
hot and dirty and bruised hands, he held out his hand to
Hugh, muttering, with no very good grace—

“T don’t know what made you help me, but I will
never be in a passion with you :—unless you put me out,
that is.”

Hugh replied that he had come to help because he
never could bear to see anybody made worse. He always
tried at home to keep the little boys and girls off “drunk
old Tom,” as he was called in the neighbourhood. It was
such a shame to make anybody worse! Lamb looked as
if he was going to fly at Hugh now: but Firth put his
arm round Hugh’s neck, and drew him into the house,
saying in his ear—

“ Don’t say any more that you have no friends here.
You have me for one ; and you might have had another
—two in one morning—but for your plain speaking about
drunk old Tom.”

“Did I say any harm ?”.

“ No—no harm,” replied Firth, laughing. “ You will

do, my boy—when you have got through a few scrapes

Pm your friend, at any rate,”



FIRST RAMBLE, 67

CHAPTER VI.

FIRST RAMBLE.



Hueu’s afternoon lessons were harder than those of the
morning ; and in the evening he found he had so much to
do that there was very little time left for writing his
letter home. Some time there was, however; and Firth
did not forget to rule his paper, and to let Hugh use his
ink. Hugh had been accustomed to copy the prints he
found in the Voyages and Travels he read ; and he could
never see a picture of a savage but he wanted to copy it.
He was thus accustomed to a pretty free use of his slate-
pencil. He now thought that it would save a great
deal of description if he sent a picture or two in his
letter: so he flourished off, on the first page, a sketch of
Mr. Tooke sitting at his desk at the top of the school,
and of Mr. Carnaby standing at his desk at the bottom
of the school.

The next evening he made haste to fill up the sheet, for
he found his business increasing upon his hands so fast
that he did not know when he should get his letter off,
if he did not despatch. it at once. He was just folding it
up when Tom Holt observed that it was a pity not to
put some words into the mouths of the figures, to make
them more animated; and he showed Hugh, by the
curious carvings of their desks, how to put words into
the mouths of figures. Hugh then remembered having
seen this done in the caricatures in the print-shops ir
London ; and he seized on the idea. He put into M>
Tooke’s mouth the words which were oftenest heard from

eZ



68 THE CROFTON BOYS.

hin, “ Proceed, gentlemen ;’ and into Mr. Carnaby’s,
“ Hold your din.”

Firth was too busy with his sense-verses to mind the
little boys, as they giggled, with their heads close together,
over Hugh’s sheet of paper; but the usher was never too
busy to be aware of any fun which might possibly con-
cern his dignity. He had his eye on the new boys the
whole while. He let Hugh direct his letter, and paint up
a stroke or two which did not look so well as the rest ;
and it was not till Hugh was rolling the water about on
his tongue that he interfered. Mr. Carnaby then came
up, tapped Hugh’s head, told him not to get on so fast,
for that every letter must be looked over before it went
to the post. While saying this, he took the letter, and put
it into his waistcoat pocket. In vain Hugh begged to
have it again, saying he would write another. The more
he begged, and the more dismayed Tom Holt looked, the
less Mr. Carnaby would attend to either. Firth let him-
self be interrupted to hear the case: but he could do
nothing in it. It was a general rule, which he thought
every boy had known ; and it was too late now to prevent
the letter being looked over.

Mr. Carnaby was so angry at the liberty Hugh had
taken with his face and figure, that, in spite of all
prayers, and a good many tears, he walked up the
school with the letter, followed by poor Hugh, as soon as
Mr. Tooke had taken his seat next morning. Hugh
thought that Holt, who had put him up to the most
offensive part of the pictures, might have borne him com-
pany; but Holt was a timid boy, and he really had
not courage to leave his seat. So Hugh stood alone,
awaiting Mr, Tooke’s awful words, while the whole of





FIRST RAMBLE. 69

the first class looked up from their books, in expectation
of what was to happen. They waited some time for the
master’s words; for he was trying to help laughing.
He and Mr. Carnaby were so much alike in the pictures,
and both so like South Sea islanders, that it was impos-
sible to help laughing at the thought of this sketch going
abroad as a representation of the Crofton masters. At
last, all parties laughed aloud, and Mr. Tooke handed
Hugh his wafer-glass, and bade him wafer up his letter,
and by all means send it. Mr. Carnaby could not remain
offended, if his principal was not angry: so here the
matter ended, except that Hugh made some strong reso-
lutions about his future letters ; and that the corners of
the master’s mouth were seen to be out of their usual
order several times in the course of the morning.

This incident, and everything which haunted Hugh's
mind, and engrossed his attention, was a serious evil to .
him ; for his business soon grew to be more than his
habit of mind was equal to. In a few days, he learned
to envy the boys (and they were almost the whole school)
who could fix their attention completely and imme-
diately on the work before them, and relax as completely,
when it was accomplished. When his eyes were wan-
dering, they observed boy after boy frowning over his
dictionary, or repeating to himself, earnestly and with-
out pause ; and presently the business was done, and the
learner at ease, feeling confident that he was ready te
meet his master. After double the time had nassed,
Hugh was still trying to get the meaning of his lesson
into his head—going over the same words a dozen times,
without gaining any notion of their meaning—suffering,
in short, from his long habit of inattention at home. He



70 THE CROFTON BOYS.

did now try hard; but he seemed to get only heud.
aches for his pains. His brother saw enough to make
him very sorry for Hugh before ten days was over. He
might not, perhaps, have been struck with his anxious
countenance, his frequent starts, and his laying his head
down on his desk because it ached so, if it had not been
for what happened at night. Sometimes Hugh started
out of bed, and kegan to dress, when the elder boys went
up with their light, only an hour after the younger ones.
Sometimes he would begin saying his syntax in the
middle of the night, fancying he was standing before
Mr. Carnaby; and once, he walked in his sleep as far as
the head of the stairs, and then suddenly woke, and
could not make out where he was. Phil should have
told Mr. Tooke of these things ; but Hugh was so very
anxious*that nobody should know of his “ tricks” (as the
boys in his room called his troubles), that Phil only men-
tioned the matter to Mrs. Watson, who had known so
many bad sleepers among little boys, and had so little idea
that the habit was anything new, that she took scarcely
any notice of it. She had his hair cut very short and
close, and saw that he took a moderate supper, and was
satisfied that all would be well. Hugh did not part with
his hair till he had joked himself about its length, as
much as any one could quiz him for it. When he had
pulled it down over the end of his nose, and peeped
through it, like an owl out of an ivy-bush, he might be
supposed to part with ib voluntarily, and not because he
was laughed at.

Phil's observation of his brother’s toil and trouble led
him to give him some help. Almost every day he would hear
Hugh say his lesson—or try to say it; for the poor boy
seldom succeeded. Phil sometimes called him stupid, and





7

FIRST RAMBLE. 71

sometimes refrained from saying so, whatever he might
think ; but there really was very little difference in the
result, whether Phil heard the lessons beforehand or not;
and it gave Joe Cape a great advantage over Phil that
he had no little brother to attend to. Considering how
selfish rivalship is apt to make boys (and even men), it
was perhaps no wonder that Phil sometimes kept out of
Hugh’s way at the right hour, saying to himself that his
proper business was to do his lessons, and get or keep
_ ahead of Joe Cape; and that Hugh must take his chance,
and work his own way, as other boys had to do. This
conduct might not be wondered at in Phil; but it hurt
Hugh, and made him do his lessons all the worse. He
did not like to expose his brother’s unkindness to any
one, or he would oftener have asked Firth to help
him. Firth, too, had plenty of work of his own to do,
More than once, however, Firth met the little lad, wan-
dering about, with his grammar in his hand, in search of
* the hidden Phil 3 and then Firth would stop him, and sit
down with him, and have patience, and give him such
clear explanations, such good examples of the rules he
was to learn, that it all became easy, and Hugh found
his lessons were to him only what those of other boys
seemed to them. Still, however, and at the best, Hugh
was, as a learner, far too much at the mercy of circum-
stances—the victim of what passed before his eyes, or
was said within his hearing.

Boys who find difficulty in attending to their lessong
are sure to be more teased with interruptions than any
others. Holt had not the habit of learning ; and he and
Hugh were continually annoyed by the boys who sat
near them watching how they got on, and making re
marks upon them. One day, Mr. Tooke was called ont



72 THE CROFTON BOYS.

of the school-room to a visitor, and Mr. Carnaby went
up to take the master’s place, and hear his class. This
was too good an opportunity for the boys below to let
slip; and they began to play tricks,—most of them
directed against Hugh and Tom Holt. One boy, Warner,
began to make the face that always made Holt laugh,
however he tried to be grave. Page drew a caricature
of Mrs. Watson on his slate, and heid it up; and Davi-
son took a mask out of his desk, and even ventured to tie
it on, as if it had not been school-time.

“T declare I can’t learn my lesson—tis too bad !”
cried Hugh.

«Tis a shame !” said Tom Holt, sighing for breath after
his struggle not to laugh. “We shall never be ready.”

Hugh made gestures of indignation at the boys,
which only caused worse faces to be made, and the mask
to nod.

“We wont look at them,” proposed Holt. “Let us
cover our eyes, and not look up at all.”

Hugh put his hands before his eyes; but still his
mind’s eye saw the guinning mask, and his lesson did nos
get on. Besides, a piece of wet sponge lighted on the
very page he was learning from. He looked up fiercely,
to see who had thrown it. It was no other than Tooke,
who belonged to that class :—it was Tooke, to judge by

his giggle, and his pretending to hide his face, as if —

ashamed. Hugh tossed back the sponge, so as to hit
Tooke on the nose. Then Tooke was angry, and threw
itagain, and the sponge passed backwards and forwards
several times : for Hugh was by this time very angry,—
boiling with indignation at the hardship of not being
able to learn his lesson, when he really would if he



FIRST RAMBLE, 73

could. While the sponge was still passing to and fro,
Mr. Carnaby’s voice was heard from the far end of the
room, desiring Warner, Page, Davison, and Tooke to be
quiet, and let the boys alone ‘till Mr. Tooke came in,
when Mr. Tooke would take his own measures.

Hugh, wondering how Mr. Carnaby knew, at that dis-

_ tance, what was going on, found that Holt was uo longer



by his side. In a moment, Holt returned to hic eat,
flushed and out of breath. A very slight hiss we, Acard
from every form near, as he came down the room.

“O! Holt! you have been telling tales !” cried Hugh.

“Telling tales !” exclaimed Holt, in consternation, for
Holt knew nothing of school ways. “I never thought of
that. They asked me to tell Mr. Carnaby that we could
not learn our lessons.”

“They ! Who? I am sure I never asked you.”

} “No; you did not: but Harvey and Prince did,—
. and Gillingham. They said Mr. Carnaby would soon

make those fellows quiet ; and they told me to go.”

“You hear! They are calling you ‘tell-tale. That
will be your name now. Oh, Holt! you should not have
told tales. However, I will stand by you,” Hugh eon-
tinued, seeing the terror that Holt was in.

“T meant no harm,” said Holt, trembling. “Was not
it a shame that they would not let us learn our lessons ?”

“ Yes, it was—but - :

At this moment Mr. Tooke entered the room. As he
passed the forms, the boys were all bent over their books,
as if they could think of nothing else. Mr. Tooke
walked up the room to his desk, and Mr. Carnaby walked
down the room to his desk ; and then Mr. Carnaby said,
quite aloud,



%



74 - THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Mr. Tooke, sir.”

“Well.”

Here Holt sprang from his desk, and ran to the usher
and besought him not to say a word about what Warner's
class had been doing. He even hung on Mr. Carnaby’s
arm in entreaty ; but Mr. Carnaby shook him off, and
commanded him back to his seat. Then the whole school
heard Mr. Tooke told about the wry faces and the mask,
and the trouble of the little boys. Mr. Tooke was not
often angry; but when he was, his face grew white, and
his lips trembled. His face was white now. He stood
up, and called before him the little boy who had informed.
Hugh chose to go with Holt, though Holt had not gone
up with him about the letter, the other day ; and Holt
felt how kind this was. Mr. Tooke desired to know who
the offenders were ; and as they were named, he called to
them to stand up in their places. Then came the sen-
tence. Mr. Tooke would never forgive advantage being
taken of his absence. Ifthere were boys who could not be
trusted while his back was turned, they must be made
to remember him when he waseout of sight, by punish-
ment. Page must remain in school after hours, to
learn twenty lines of Virgil ; Davison twenty ; Tooke
forty ——

Here everybody looked round to see how Tooke bore
his father being so angry with him.

“ Please, sir,” cried one boy, “I saw little Proctor
throw a sponge at Tooke. He did it twice.”

“ Neyer mind!” answered Tooke. “I threw it at him
first. It is my sponge.”

“ And Warner,” continued the master, as if he had
not heard the interruption, “considering that Warner





FIRST RAMBLE, 73

bas got off toe easily for many pranks of late,-—Warner
seventy.” ;

Seventy! The idea of having anybody condemned,
through him, to learn seventy lines of Latin by heart,
made Holt so miserable, that the word seventy seemed
really to prick his very ears. Though Mr. Tooke’s face
was still white, Holt ventured up to hin—

“ Pray, sir ”

* Not a word of intercession for those boys?” said the
master, “TI will not hear a word in their favour.”

“Then, sir

BavViell..”

“T only want to say, then, that Proctor told no tales,
sir. I did not mean any harm, sir, but I told, be-
cause ”

“ Never mind that,” cred Hugh, afraid that he would
now be telling of Harvey, Prince, and Gillingham, who
had persuaded him to go up.

“T have nothing to do with that. That is your affair,”
said the master, sending the boys back to their seats.

Poor Holt had cause to rue this morning, for long
after. He was weary of the sound of hissing, and of the







_ name * tell-tale ;” and the very boys who had prompted him

to go up were at first silent, and then joined against him.
He complained to Hugh of the difficulty of knowing what
it was right to do. He had been angry on Hugh’s account
chiefly ; and he still thought it was very unjust to hinder
their lessons, when they wished not to be idle: and yet
they were all treating him as if he had done something
worse than the boys with the mask. Hugh thought all
this was true; but he believed it was settled among
schoolboys (though Holt had never had the opportunity



76 THE CROFTON BOYS.

of knowing it) that it was a braver thing for boys to bear
any teasing from one another than to call in the power of
the master to help. A boy who did that was supposed
not to be able to take care of himself; and for this he was
despised, besides being disliked, for having brought punish-
ment upon his companions.

Holt wished Hugh had not been throwing sponges at
she time :—he wished Hugh had prevented his going up.
He would take good care how he told tales again.

“You had better say so,” advised Hugh; “and then
they will see that you had never been at.school, and did
not know how to manage.”

The first Saturday had been partly dreaded, and partly
longed for, by Hugh. He had longed for the afternoon’s
ramble ; but Saturday morning was the time for saying
tables, among other things. Nothing happened as he had
expected. The afternoon was so rainy that there was no
going out ; and, as for the tables, he was in a class of
five; and “four times seven” did not come to him in
regular course. Hight times seven did, and he said
“fifty-six” with great satisfaction. Mr. Carnaby asked
him afterwards the dreaded question, but he was on his
guard; and as he answered it right, and the usher had
not found out the joke, he hoped he should hear no more
of the matter.

The next Saturday was fine, and at last he was to have
the walk he longed for. The weekly “repetitions were
over, dinner was done, Mr. Carnaby .appeared with his
hat on, the whole throng burst into the open air, and out
of bounds, and the new boys were wild with expectation
and delight. When they had passed the churchyard and
the green, and were wading through the sandy road which





FIRST RAMBLE, 77

led up to the heath, Firth saw Hugh running and leaping
dither and thither, not knowing what to do with his
spirits. Firth called him, and putting his arm round
_ Hugh's neck, so as to keep him prisoner, said he did not
know how he might want his strength before he got home,
and he had better not spend it on a bit of sandy road. So

_ Hugh was made to walk quietly, and gained his breath

before the breezy heath was reached.

On the way, he saw that a boy of the name of Dale,
whom he had never particularly observed before, was a
good deal teased by some boys who kept crossing their
hands before them, and curtseying like girls, talking in a
mincing way, and calling one another Amelia, with great
_ affectation. Dale tried to get away, but he was followed,
_ whichever way he turned.

“What do they mean by that?’ inquired Hugh of
Firth.

“Dale has a sister at a school not far off, and her name

_ is Amelia; and she came to see him to-day. Ah! you
have not found out yet that boys are laughed at about
their sisters, particularly if the girls have fine names.”

“What ashame!” cried Hugh; words which he had

___used very often already since he came to Crofton.



He broke from Firth, ran up to Dale, and said to him,
in a low voice, “I have two sisters, and one of them is
_ called Agnes.”

“ Don’t let them come to see you, then, or these fellows
will quiz you as they dome. Asif I could help having
a sister Amelia !”

* “Why, you are not sorry for that? You would not
wish your sister dead, or not born, would you?”

“No; but I wish she was not hereabouts: that is, I



v8 THE CROFTON BOYS.

wish she had not come up to the pales, with the maid.
servant behind her, for everybody to see. And then,
when Mr. Tooke sent us into the orchard together, some
spies were peeping over the wall at us all the time.”

“T only wish Agnes would come,” cried Hugh, “and I
would i"

“Ah! you think so now; but depend upon it, you
would like much better to see her. at home. Why, her
name is finer than my sister's! I wonder what girls ever
have such names for !”

“T don’t see that these names are finer than some boys’
names. There’s Frazer, is not his name Colin? And
then there’s Hercules Fisticuff. ”

“Why, you know—to be sure you know that is a nick-
name?” said Dale.

“Ts it? I never thought pf that,’ replied Hugh.
“What is his real name ?”

“Samuel Jones. However, there is Colin Frazer—
and Fry, his name is Augustus Adolphus; I will play
them off the next time they quiz Amelia. How old is
your sister Agnes ?”

Then the two boys wandered, off among the furze
bushes, talking about their homes ; and in a little while,
they had so opened their hearts to each other, that they
felt as if they had always been friends. Nobody thought
any more about them when once the whole school was
dispersed over the heath. Some boys made for a hazel
copse, some way beyond the heath, in hopes of finding a
few nuts already ripe. Others had boats to float on the
pond. A large number played leap-frog, and some ran
races. Mr. Carnaby threw himself down on a soft couch
of wild thyme, on a rising ground, and took out his book.









*

FIRST RAMBLE. 79

Bo Dale and Hugh felt themselves unobserved, and they
chatted away at a great rate. Not but that an interrup-
tion or two did occur. They fell in with a flock of geese,
and Hugh did not much like their appearance, never
having heard a goose make a noise before. He had eaten
roast goose, and he had seen geese in the feathers at the
poulterers’; but he had never seen them alive, and stretch
ing their necks at passengers. He flinched at the first
moment. Dale, who never imagined that a boy who was
not afraid of his schoolfellows could be afraid of geese,
luckily mistook the movement, and said, “Ay, get a
switch,—a bunch of furze will do, and we will be rid of
the noisy things.”

He drove them away, and Hugh had now learned, for
ever, how much noise geese can make, and how little
they are to be feared.

They soon came upon some creatures which were
larger and stronger, and with which Hugh was no better
acquainted. Some cows were grazing, or had been graz-
ing, till a party of boys came up. They were now rest-
less, moving uneasily about, so that Dale himself hesitated
for a moment which way to go. Lamb was near,—the
passionate boy, who was nobody’s friend, and who was
therefore seldom at play with others. He was also some-
thing of a coward, as any one might know from his fre-
quent bullying. He and Holt happened to be together
at this time ; and it was their appearance of fright at the
restless cows which frightened Hugh. One ccw at last
began to trot towards them at a pretty good rate. Lamb
ran off to the right, and the two little boys after him,
though Dale pulled at Hugh’s hand to make him stand
still, as Pale chose to do himself. He pulled in vain—

t



80 THE CROFTON BOYS.

Hugh burst away, and off went the three boys, over the
hillocks and through the furze, the cow trotting at some
distance behind. They did not pause till Lamb had led
them off the heath into a deep lane, different from the one
by which they had come. The cow stopped at a patch
of green grass, just at the entrance of the hollow way ;
and the runners therefore could take breath.

“ Now we are here,” said Lamb, “I will show you a
nice place,—a place where we can get something nice.
How thirsty I am !”

“And so am I,” declared Holt, smacking his dry
tongue. Hugh’s mouth was very dry too, between the
run and the fright.

“Well, then, come along with me, and I will show
you,” said Lamb.

Hugh thought they ought not to go farther from the
heath: but Lamb said they would get back by another
way,—through a gate belonging to a friend of his. They
could not get back the way they came, because the cow
was there still. He walked briskly on till they came to
a cottage, over whose door swung a sign ; and on the sign
was a painting of a bot#le and a glass, and a heap of
things which were probably meant for cakes, as there
were cakes in the window. Here Lamb turned in, and
the woman seemed to know him well. She smiled, and
closed the door behind the three boys, and asked them to
sit down: but Lamb said there was no time for that to-
day,—she must be quick. He then told the boys that
they would have some ginger-beer.

“But may we?’ asked the little boys.

“To be sure: who is to prevent us? ‘You shall see
how you like ginger-beer when you are thirsty.”



FIRST RAMMBIE. sl

The woman declared that it was the most wholesome
thing in the world ; and if the young gentleman did not
_ find it so, she would never ask him to taste her ginger-
beer again. Hugh thanked them both; but he did not
feel quite comfortable. He looked at Holt, to find out
what he thought: but Holt was quite engrossed with
watching the woman untwisting the wire of the first
bottle. The cork did not fly; indeed there was some
difficulty in getting it out: so Lamb waived his right, as
the eldest, to drink first ; and the little boys were so long
insettling which should have it, that the little spirit there
_ was had all gone off before Hugh began to drink ; and he
did not find ginger-beer such particularly good stuff as
Lamb had said. He would have liked a drink of water
better. The next bottle was very brisk: so Lamb seized
upon it; and the froth hung round his mouth when he
haddone: but Holt was no better off with his than Hugh
had been. They were both urged to try their luck again.
Hugh would not: but Holt did once; and Lamb, two or
three times. Then the woman offered them some cakes
upon a plate: and the little boys thanked her, and took
eachone. Lamb put some in his pocket, and advised the
others to do the same, as they had no time to spare. He
kept some room in his pocket, however, for some plums ;
/ and told the boys that they might carry theirs in their

handkerchiefs, or in their caps, if they would take care to

have finished before they came within sight of the uslier.

He then asked the woman to let them out upon the heath

through her garden gate; and she said she certainly

would when they had paid. She then stood drumming
with her fingers upon the table, and looking through the
__ window, as if waiting,



eo oe

ee

£



82 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Come, Proctor, you have half-a-crown,” said Lamb.
“Out with it!”

“ My half-crown !” exclaimed Proctor. “You did not
say I had anything to pay.”

“ As if you did not know that, without my telling you!
You don’t think people give away their good things, I
suppose! Come,—where’s your half-crownt My money
is all at home.”

Holt had nothing with him either. Lamb asked the
woman what there was to pay. She seemed to count
and consider; and Holt told Hugh afterwards that he
saw Lamb wink at her. She then said that the younger
gentlemen-had had the most plums and cakes. The charge
was a shilling a-piece for them, and sixpence for Master
Lamb :—half-a-crown exactly. Hugh protested he never
meant anything like this, and that he wanted part of his
half-crown to buy a comb with; and he would have
emptied out the cakes and fruit he had left; but the
woman stopped him, saying that she never took back
what she had sold. Lamb hurried him, too, declaring
that their time was up ; and he even thrust his finger
and thumb into Hugh’s inner pocket, and took out the
half-crown, which he gave to the woman. He was sure
that Hugh could wait for his comb till Holt paid him, and
the woman said she did not see that any more combing
was wanted: the young gentleman’s hair looked so
pretty as it was. She then showed them through the
garden, and gave them each a marigold full-blown. She
unlocked her gate, pushed them through, locked it behind
them, and left them to hide their purchases as well as
they could. Though the little boys stuffed their pockets
sill the ripest plums burst, and wetted the linings, they

‘



FIRST RAMBLE, &3




could not dispose of them all; and they were obliged to
give away a good many.
_* Hugh went in search of his new friend, and drew hira
aside from the rest to relate his trouble. Dale wondered
he had not found out Lamb before this, enough to refuse
to follow his lead. Lamb would never pay a penny.
_ He always spent the little money he had upon good
_ things, the first day or two; and then he got what he
_ could out of any one who was silly enough to trust him.
_ “But,” said Hugh, “the only thing we had to do with
_ each other before was by my being kind to him.”
_ “That makes no difference,” said Dale.
“But what a bad boy he must be! To be sure, he
_ will pay me, when he knows how much I want a comb.”
He will tell you to buy it out of your five shillings.
~ You let him know you had five shillings in Mrs. Watson’s
hands.”
“Yes; but he knows how I mean to spend that,—
_ for presents to carry home at Christmas. But I'll never
_ tell him anything again. Oh! Dale! do you really
_ think he will never pay me?”
__. “He never pays anybody ; that is all I know. Come,
—forget it all, as fast as you can. Let us go and see if
_ we can get any nuts.”
_ Haugh did not at all succeed in his endeavours to forget
_ hisadventure. The more he thought about it, the worse
_ it seemed; and the next time he spoke to Holt, and
_ told him, to remember that he owed him a shilling,
‘Holt said he did not know that,—he did not mean to
spend a shilling; and it was clear that it was only his
fear of Hugh’s speaking to Mrs. Watson or the usher,
that prevented his saying outright that he should not
f 2



THE CROFTON BOYS.

pay it. Hugh felt very hot, and bit his lip to make his
voice steady when he told Dale, on the way home, that
he did not believe he should ever see any part of his
half-crown again. Dale thought so too; but he advised
him to do nothing more than keep the two debtors
up to the remembrance of their debt. If he told so
powerful a person as Firth, it would be almost as much
tale-telling as if he went to the master at once; and
Hugh himself had no inclination to expose his folly to
Phil, who was already quite sufficiently ashamed of his
inexperience. So poor Hugh threw the last of his plums
to some cottager’s children on the green, in his way
home ; and, when he set foot within bounds again, he
heartily wished that this Saturday afternoon had been
rainy too; for any disappointment would have been
better than this scrape.

While learning his lessons for Monday, he forgot the
whole matter ; and then he grew merry over the great
Saturday night’s washing ; but after he was in bed, it
flashed upon him that he should meet uncle and aunt
Shaw in church to-morrow, and they would speak to Phil
and him after church ; and his uncle might ask after the
half-crown. He determined not to expose his compa-
nions, at any rate: but his uncle would be displeased;
and this thought was so sad that Hugh cried himself to
sleep. His uncle and aunt were at church the next
morning; and Hugh could not forget the ginger-beer, or
help watching his uncle : so that, though he tried several
times to attend to the sermon, he knew nothing about it
when it was done. His uncle observed in the churchyard
that they must have had a fine ramble the day before ;
but did not say anything about pocket-money, Neither

—



FIRST RAMBLE. 85



did he name a day for his nephews to visit him, though
he said they must come before the days grew much
_ shorter. So Hugh thought he had got off very well thus
far. In the afternoon, however, Mrs. Watson, who in-
vited him and Holt into her parlour, to look over the
pictures in her great Bible, was rather surprised to find
how little Hugh could tell her of the sermon, considering
how much he had remembered the Sunday before. She
had certainly thought that to-day’s sermon had been
_ the simpler, and the more interesting to young people, of
the two. Her conversation with Hugh did him good,
however. Jt reminded him of his mother’s words, and of
her expectations from him; and it made him resolve to
bear, not only his loss, but any blame which might come
_ upon him silently, and without betraying anybody. He
had already determined, fifty times within the twenty-
four hours, never to be so weakly led again, when his
own mindayas doubtful, as he had felt it all the time
_ from leaving the heath to getting back to it again.
He began to reckon on the Christmas holidays, when he
should have five weeks at home, free from the evils of
both places,—from lessons with Miss Harold, and from
Crofton scrapes.
It is probable that the whole affair would have passed
over quietly, and the woman in the lane might have
made large profits by other inexperienced boys, and Mr.
Carnaby might have gone on being careless as to where
the boys went out of his sight on Saturdays, but that
Tom Holt ate too many plums on the present occasion
_ On Sunday morning he was not well ; and was so ill by
___ the evening, and all Monday, that he had to be regularly
nursed ; and when he left his bed, he was taken to Mrs.



86 THE CROFTON BOYS,

Watson’s parlour,—the comfortable, quiet place whezs
invalid boys enjoyed themselves. Poor Holt was in very
low spirits; and Mrs. Watson was so kind that he
could not help telling her that he owed a shilling, and
he did not know how he should ever pay it; and that
Hugh Proctor, who had been his friend till now, seemed
on a sudden much more fond of Dale ; and this made it
harder to be in debt to him.

The wet, smeared lining of the pockets had told Mrs,
Watson already that there had been some improper in-
dulgence in good things ; and,when she heard what part
Lamb had played towards the little boys, she thought it
right to tell Mr. Tooke. My. Tooke said nothing till
Holt was in the school again, which was on Thurs-
day ; and not then till the little boys had said their
lessons, at past eleven o'clock, They were drawing on
their slates, and Lamb was still mumbling over his book,
without getting on, when the master’s awful voice was
heard, calling up before him Lamb, little Proctor, and
Holt. All three started, and turned red; so that the
school concluded them guilty before it was known what
they were charged with. Dale knew,—and he alone;
and very sorry he was, for the intimacy between Hugh
and him had grown very close indeed since Saturday.

The master was considerate towards the younger boys,
He made Lamb tell the whole. Even when the cowardly
lad “bellowed” (as his schoolfellows called his usual mode
of crying) so that nothing else could be heard, Mr.
Tooke waited, rather than question the other two. When
the whole story was extracted, in all its shamefulness,
from Lamb’s own lips, the master expressed his disgust,
He said nothing about the money part of it—about how





FIRST RAMBLE, 8]

Hugh was to be paid. He probably thought it best for
the boys to take the consequences of their folly in losing
their money. He handed the little boys over to Mr,
Carnaby to be caned—“ To make them remember,” as he
said; though they themselves were pretty sure they should
never forget. Lamb was kept to be punished by the |
master himself. Though Lamb knew he should be severely
flogged, and though he was the most cowardly boy in the
school, he did not suffer so much as Hugh did in the pro-
spect of being caned—being punished at all. Phil, who
knew his brother's face well, saw, as he passed down the
room, how miserable he was—too miserable to ery; and
Phil pulled him by the sleeve, and whispered that being
caned was nothing to mind—only a stroke or two across
the shoulders. Hugh shook his head, as much as to say,
“Té is not that.”

No—it was not the pain. It was the being punished
in open school, and when he did not feel that he deserved
it. How should he know where Lamb was taking him ?
How should he know that the ginger-beer was to be paid
for, and that he was to pay? Heâ„¢felt himself injured
enough already ; and now to be punished in addition!
He would have died on the spot for liberty to tell Mr.
Tooke and everybody what he thought of the way he
was treated. He had felt his mother hard sometimes;
but what had she exer done to him compared with this?
Tt was well he thought of his mother. At the first
moment, the picture of home in his mind nearly made
him cry—the thing of all others he most wished to
avoid while so many eyes were on him ; but the remem-
brance of what his mother expected of him—her look
when she told him he must not fail, gave him courage,



88 THE CROFTON BOYS.

Hard as it was to be, as he believed, unjustly punished,
it was better than having done anything very wrong—
anything that he really could not have told his mother.

Mr. Carnaby foresaw that a rebuke was in store for him
for his negligence during the walk on Saturday ; and this
anticipation did not sweeten his mood. He kept the
little boys waiting, though Holt was trembling very much,
and still weak from his illness. It occurred to the usher
that another person might be made uncomfortable ; and
he immediately acted on the idea. He had observed how
fond of one another Dale and Hugh had become; and he
thought he would pl&gue Dale a little. He therefore
summoned him, and desired him to go, and bring him a
switch, to cane these boys with.

“T have broken my cane ; so bring me a stout switch,”
said he, “Bring me one out of the orchard ; one that
will lay on well—one that will not break with a good hard
stroke ;—mind what I say—one that will not break.”

“ Yes, sir,” replied Dale, readily ; and he went as if he
was not at all unwilling, Holt shivered. Hugh never
moved. *

It was long, very long, before Dale returned. When
he did, he brought a remarkably stout broomstick.

“This wont break, I think, sir,” said he.

The boys giggled. Mr. Carnaby knuckled Dale’s head
as he asked him if he called that a switch.

“Bring me a switch,” said he. “ One that is not too
stout, or else it will not sting. It must sting, remember,
—sting well. Not too stout, remember.”

“Yes, sir,” said Dale ; and away he went again.

He was now gone yet longer; and by the time he re-
turned everybody’s eyes were fixed on the door, to see



|
.
1
4



FIRST RAMBLE, 89




what sort of a switch would next appear. Dale entered,
bringing a straw.

“JT think this will not be too stout, sir,”

Everybody laughed but Hugh—even Holt.

There was that sneer about Mr. Carnaby’s nose which
made everybody sorry now for Dale: but everybody
started, Mr. Carnaby and all, at Mr. Tooke’s voice, close
at hand. How much he had seen and heard, there was
no knowing; but it was enough to make him look ex-
_ tremely stern.

“ Are these boys not caned yet, Mr. Carnaby?”

“No, sir ;—I have not—I——”

“Have they heen standing here all this while ?”

“Yes,sir. I have no cane, sir. I have been sending

“T ordered them an immediate caning, Mr. Carnaby,
and not mental torture. School is up,” he declared to
the boys at large. “ You may go—you have been punished
enough,” he said to the little boys. “Mr. Carnaby, have
the goodness to remain a moment.”

And the large room was speedily emptied of all but
the master, the usher, and poor Lamb.

“The usher will catch it now,” observed some boys, as
the master himself shut the door behind them. “He
will get well paid for his spite.”

“What will be done to him?” asked Hugh of Dale,
whom he loved fervently for having saved him from
punishment.

“Oh, I don’t know ; and I don’t care—though he was
just going to give my head some sound raps against the
wall, if Mr. Tooke had not come up at the moment.”
“But what will be done to Mr. Carnaby ?”

“ Never mind what ; he wont be here long, they say.

”



~



90 THE CROFTON BOYS,

Fisher says there is another coming ; and Carnaby is here
only till that other is at liberty.”

This was good news, if true: and Hugh ran off, quite
in spirits, to play. He had set himself diligently to
learn to play, and would not be driven off ; and Dale had
insisted on fair scope for him. He played too well to
be objected to any more. They now went to leap-
frog ; and when too hot to keep it up any longer, he and
Dale mounted into the apple-tree to talk, while they were
cooling, and expecting the dinner-bell.

Something happened very wonderful before dinner.
The gardener went dewn to the main road, and seemed
to be looking out. At last he hailed the London coach.
Hugh and Dale could see from their perch. The coach
stopped, the gardener ran back, met Mr. Carnaby under
the chesnuts, relieved him of his portmanteau, and helped
him to mount the coach.

“Ts he going? Gone for good?” passed from mouth to
mouth, all over the play-ground.

“Gone for good,” was the answer of those who knew
to a certainty.

The boys set up first a groan, so loud that perhaps the
departing usher heard it. Then they gave a shout of joy,
in which the little boys joined with all their might—
Hugh waving his cap in the apple-tree.



CHAPTER VII.
WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME.

Hvex got on far better with his lessons as he grew more
intimate with Dale. It was not so much that Dale
helped him with his grammar and construing (for Dale



WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME, 91

thought every boy should make shift to do his own
business) as that he liked to talk about his work, even
with a younger boy; and so, as he said, clear his head.
_ A great deal that he said was above Hugh’s comprehen
sion ; and much of his repetitions mere words : but there
were other matters which fixed Hugh’s attention, an¢
proved to him that study might be interesting out of

_ school. When Dale had a theme to write, the two boys



often walked up and down the play-ground for half an
hour together, talking the subject over, and telling of
anything they had heard or read upon it. Hugh pre-
sently learned the names and the meanings of the diffe-
rent parts of a theme; and he could sometimes help with
an illustration or example, though he left it to his friend
to lay down the Proposition, and search out the Confir-
mation. Dale’s nonsense-verses were perfect nonsense to
Hugh : but his construing was not: and when he went
over it aloud, for the purpose of fixing his lesson in his
ear, as well as his mind, Hugh was sorry when they ar-
rived at the end, and eager to know what came next,—
particularly if they had to stop in the middle of a story of
Ovid’s. Every week, almost every day now, made a great
difference in Hugh’s school-life. He still found his lessons
very hard work, and was often in great fear and pain about
them,—but he continually perceived new light breaking
in upon his mind : his memory served him better ; the little
he had learned came when he wanted it, instead of just a
minute too late. He rose in the morning with less anxiety
about the day: and when playing, could forget school.
There was no usher yet in Mr. Carnaby’s place; and all
the boys said their lessons to Mr. Tooke himself: which
Hugh liked very much, when he had got over the first



92 THE CROFTON BOYS.

fear. A writing-master came from a distance twice
a-week, when the whole school was at writing and arith-
metic all the afternoon : but every other lesson was said
to the master ; and this was likely to go on till Christmas,
as the new usher, of whom, it was said, Mr. Tooke
thought so highly as to choose to wait for him, could not
come before that time. Of course, with so much upon his
hands, Mr. Tooke had not a moment to spare ; and slow
or idle boys were sent back to their desks at the first trip
or hesitation in their lessons. Hugh was afraid, at the
outset, that he should be like poor Lamb, who never got
a whole lesson said during these weeks: and he was
turned down sometimes ; but not often enough to depress
him. He learned to trust more to his ear and _ his
memory : his mind became excited, as in playing a game:
and he found he got through, he scarcely knew how. His
feeling of fatigue afterwards proved to him that this was
harder work than he had ever done at home ; but he did
not feel it so at the time. When he could learn a lesson
in ten minutes, and say it in one; when he began to use
Latin phrases in his private thoughts, and saw the mean-
ing of a rule of syntax, so as to be able to find a fresh
example out of his own head, he felt himself yeally a
Crofton boy, and his heart grew light within him.

The class to which Hugh belonged was one day stand-
ing waiting to be heard, ae the master was giving a
abject and directions for an English theme to Dale’s
class. The subject was the Pleasures of Friendship. In
a moment Hugh thought of Damon and Pythias, and of
David and Jonathan,—of the last of whom there was a
picture in Mrs. Watson’s great Bible. He thought how
happy he ‘had been since he had known Dale, and his







WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME. 93

heart was in such a glow, he was sure he could write a
theme. He ran after Mr. Tooke when school was
over, and asked whether he might write a theme with
Dale’s class. When Mr. Tooke found he knew what
was meant by writing a theme, he said he might try,
if he neglected nothing for it, and wrote every word of it
himself, without consultation with any one.

Hugh scampered away to tell Dale that they must not
talk over this theme together, as they were both to doit ;
and then, instead of playing, he went to his desk, and
_ wrote upon his slate till it was quite full. He had to
_ borrow two slates before he had written all he had to say.
Phil ruled his paper for him; but before he had copied
one page, his neighbours wanted their slates back again,—
said they must have them, and rubbed out all he had
_ written. Much of the little time he had was lost in this
way, and he grew wearied. He thought at first that his

theme would be very beautiful: but he now began to
- doubt whether it would be worth anything at all ; and he

was vexed to have tired himself with doing what would
only make him laughed at. The first page was well
written out,—the Confirmation being properly separated
from the Proposition: but he had to write all the latter
part directly from his head upon the paper, as the slates
were taken away; and he forgot to separate the Conclu-
sion from the Inference.

He borrowed a penknife, and tried to scratch out ha’t
a line; but he only madea hole in the paper, and was
obliged to let the line stand. Then he found he had
strangely forgotten to put in the chief thing of all,—
about friends telling one another of their faults,—though,
on consideration, he was not sure that this was one of



94 THE CROFTON BOYS.

the Pleasures of Friendship : so, perhaps, it did not much
matter. But there were two blots; and he had left out
Jonathan’s name, which had to be interlined. Alto-
gether, it had the appearance of a very bad theme. Firth —
came and looked over his shoulder, as he was gazing at
it ; and Firth offered to write it out for him ; and even
thought it would be fair, as he had had nothing to do
with the composition : but Hugh could not think it would
be fair, and said, sighing, that his must take its chance.
He did not think he could have done a theme so very badly,
Mr. Tooke beckoned him up with Dale’s class, when
they carried up their themes ; and, seeing how red his
face was, the master bade him not be afraid. But how
could he help being afraid? The themes were not read
directly. It was Mr. Tooke’s practice to read them out
of school-hours. On this occasion, judgment was given
the last thing before school broke up the next morning.
Hugh had never been more astonished in his life. Mr,
Tooke praised his theme very much, and said it had sur-
prised him. He did not mind the blots and mistakes, which
would, he said, have beer great faults in a copy-book, but
were of less consequence than other things in a theme.
_ Time and pains would correct slovenliness of that kind ;
. and the thoughts and language were good. Hugh was
almost out of his wits with delight; so nearly so
that he spoiled his own pleasure completely. He could
not keep his happiness to himself, or his vanity: for
Hugh had a good deal of vanity,—more than he was
aware of before this day. He told several boys what Mr.
Tooke had said: but he soon found that would not do.
Some were indifferent, but most laughed at him, Then
he ran to Mrs, Watson’s parlour, and knocked. Nobody







WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME. 95

answered ; for the room was empty : so Hugh sought her
_ in various places, and at last found her in the kitchen,
boiling some preserves. |
“What do you come here for ? This is no place for you,”

_ said she, when the maids tried in vain to put Hugh out.
TJ only want to tell you one thing,” cried Hugh ; and

he repeated exactly what Mr. Tooke had said of his theme.
_ Mrs. Watson laughed, and the maids laughed, and Hugh
left them, angry with them, but more angry with him-
self. They did not care for him,—nobody cared for him,
he said to himself; he longed for his mother’s look or
approbation when he had done well, and Agnes’ pleasure,
and even Susan’s fondness and praise. He sought Dale.
Dale was in the midst of a game, and had not a word or

look to spare till it was over. The boys would have ad-
mitted Hugh ; for he could now play as well as anybody ;
but he was in no mood for play now. He climbed his
_ tree, and sat there, stinging his mind with the thought of
his having carried his boastings into the kitchen, and
with his recollection of Mrs. Watson’s laugh.

Tt often happened that Firth and Hugh met at this
tree ; and it happened now. There was room for both ;
and Firth mounted, and read for some time. At last, he
seemed to be struck by Hugh’s restlessness and heavy
sighs ; and he asked whether he had not got something
to amuse himself with.

“No. I don’t want to amuse myself” said Hugh,
stretching so as almost to throw himself out of the tree.

“Why, what’s the matter? Did not you come off well
with your theme? I heard somebody say you were quite
enough set up about it.”

“Where is the use of doing a thing well, if nobody



96 THE CROFTON BOYS.

cares about it?’ said Hugh. “TI don’t believe anybody
at Crofton cares a bit about me—cares whether I get on
well or ill—-except Dale. If I take pains and succeed,
they only laugh at me.”

“ Ah! you don’t understand school and schoolboys yet,”
replied Firth. “Todo a difficult lesson well is a grand.
affair at home, and the whole house knows of it. But it
is the commorest thing in the world here. If you
learn to feel with these boys, instead of expecting them
to feel with you (which they cannot possibly do), you will
soon find that they care for you accordingly.”

Hugh shook his head.

“You will find in every school in England,” continued
Firth, “that it is not the way of boys to talk about
feelings—about anybody’s feelings. That is the reason
why they do not mention their sisters or their mothers—
except when two confidential friends are together, in a
tree, or by themselves in the meadows. But, as sure as
ever a boy is full of action—if he tops the rest at play—
holds his tongue, or helps others generously—or shows a
manly spirit without being proud of it, the whole school is
his friend. You have done well, so far, by growing more
and more sociable ; but you will lose ground if you boast
about your lessons out of school. To prosper at Crofton, you
must put off home, and make yourself a Crofton boy.

“T don’t care about that,” said Hugh. “TI give it all
up. There is nothing but injustice here.”

“ Nothing but injustice! Pray, am I unjust ?”

“ No—not you—not so far. But——”

“Ts Mr. Tooke unjust ?”

“Yes—very.”

* Pray how, and when %”







WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME, 97

“He has been so unjust to me, that if it had not been
_ for something, I could not have borne it. I am not going
to tell you what that something is: only you need not be
afraid but that I can bear everything. If the whole
world was against me ”

“Well, never mind what that something is; but tell
me how Mr. Tooke is unjust to you.”

“He punished me when I did not deserve it ; and he
praised me when I did not deserve it. I was cheated and
injured that Saturday; and, instead of seeing me righted, -
Mr. Tooke ordered me to be punished. And to-day, when
my theme was so badly done that I made sure of being
blamed, he praised me.”

“This might be injustice at home,” replied Firth, “ be-
cause parents know, or ought to know, all that is in their
- children’s minds, and exactly what their children can do.
A schoolmaster can judge only by what he sees. Mr.
Tooke does not know yet that you could have done your
theme better than you did—as your mother would have
known. When he finds you can do better, he will not
“@ praise such a theme again. Meantime, how you can boast
of his praise, if you think it unjust, is the wonder
to me.”

“So it isto me now. I wish I had never asked to do
that theme at all,” cried Hugh, again stretching himself
to get rid of his shame, “But why did Mr. Tooke order
me to be caned? Why did he not make Lamb and Holt
pay me what they owe? I was injured before; and he
injured me more.”

“You were to be caned because you left the heath and
entered a house, without leave—not because you had been
cheated of your money.”



g



|

98 THE CROFTON BOYS,

“But I did not know where I was going. I never

“meant to enter a house.”

“But you did both ; and what you suffered will pre-
vent your letting yourself be led into such a scrape again.
As for the money part of the matter—a school is to
boys what the world is when they become men. They
must manage their own affairs among themselves. The
difference is, that here is the master to be applied to, if
we choose. He will advise you about your money, if you
choose to ask him: but, for my part, I would rather put
up with the loss, if I were you.”

- “Nobody will ever understand what I mean about
justice,” muttered Hugh.

“ Suppose,” said Firth, “while you are complaining of
injustice in this way, somebody else should be complaining
in the same way of your injustice.”

“ Nobody can—fairly,” replied Hugh.

“Do you see that poor fellow, skulking there under the
orchard-wall ?”

“What, Holt ?”

“Yes, Holt. I fancy the thought in his mind at this
moment is that you are the most unjust person at
Crofton.”

“T! unjust !”

“Yes; so he thinks. When you first came, you and
he were companions. You found comfort in each other
while all the rest were strangers to you. You were glad
to hear, -by the hour together, what he had to tell you
about India, and his voyages and travels. Now he feels
himself lonely and forsaken, while he sees you happy
with a friend. He thinks it hard that you should desert
him because he owes you a shilling, when he was cheated
quite as much as you.”





Full Text

The Baldwin Library

University
RmB -
Florida





THE

PROrroNn BOYS

BY

HARRIET MARTINEAU

AUTHOR OF
“THE PEASANT AND THE PRINCE,” “ FEATS ON THE FIORD,”
ETC, ETC,

LONDON
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL

NEW YORK; 9, LAFAYETTE PLACE
Ballantyne JOvess
BALLANTYNE, HANSON AND CO., EDINBURGH
CHANDOS STREET, LONDON
CONTENTS.

OHAP. PAGE
I. ALL THE PROOTORS BUT PHIT »« v »0 « © a + 5 5

TROVE MRA TOOKEN CARIN) 9 allele. 6 ee iia) 8 we
TIT, MIOHABLMAS-DAY COMB . . 0 « 8 «© © » © © «© BY
IV. MICHARLMAS-DAY OVER . o «4 + 0 « « © « » 40

AMOHORLONMDIOA Vin Muli suet ivelMMe\NWell Mele") @ ele ele sul Ose

VES ROUR MBL cai oll su ewe eel is) (fet a. eh iene Sv vene ,yOUg
VII. WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOMH. « -« * « 4 » 90
AARON EDA hie) ¢il sells Nel ele a ge e dOS

117

PUMP MAVACTORMSH sit Yell) iei)\\'e) ol leet) (ap) se #)) ew) LO

IX, OROPDON QUIET. «. .« «© «© «© © » 6 *@

»
2
2

x

8

2

2

2

x

5

2
jet
~
_

XI. DOMESTIO MANNERS . 2 « © »
Xe) HOUT AND HIS)DIGNITY’ si 6\ o « » e o 6 0 « » ADL
SUM U RERUN Gavotte) lea) le ¢. ee. a. a 8 6s ley LOO
XIV. HOLT AND HIS HELP. » « © © «© © # «© 9 o «© 182

BAVMMCONCHURION) isis) ss 9 8 bo ce al wal ot hh SD
THE CROFTON BOYS.

CHAPTER IL ,
ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL.

Mr. Proctor, the chemist and druggist, kept his shop,
and lived in the Strand, London. His children thought
that there was never anything pleasanter than the way
they lived. Their house was warm in winter, and such a
little distance from the church, that they had no difficulty
in getting to church and back again, in the worst ‘weather,
before their shoes were wet. They were also conveniently
near to Covent Garden market; so that, if any friend
_ dropped in to dinner unexpectedly, Jane and Agnes
could be off to the market, and buy a fowl, or some vege-
tables or fruit, and be back again before they were missed.
It was not even too far for little Harry to trot with one
of his sisters, early on a summer’s morning, to spend his
penny (when he Renpencd to .have one) on a bunch of
flowers, to lay on papa’s plate, to surprise him when he
came in to breakfast. Not much farther off was the
Yemple Garden, where Mrs, Proctor took her children
every fine summer evening to walk and breathe the air
from the river ; and when Mr. Proctor could find time to
come to them for a turn or two before the younger ones
must go home to bed, it seemed to the whole party the
6 THE CROFTON BOYS.

happiest and most beautiful place in the whole world,—
except one. They had once been to Broadstairs, when
the children were in poor health after the measles: and
for ever after, when they thought of the waves beating
on the shore, and of the pleasures of growing strong and
well among the sea-breezes, they felt that there might be
places more delightful than the Temple Garden : but they
were still very proud and fond of the grass and trees, and
the gravel walks, and the view over the Thames, and
were pleased to show off the garden to all friends from
the country who came to visit them.

The greatest privilege of all, however, was that they
ould see the river without going out of their own housé.
.There were three back windows to the house, one above
another ; and from the two uppermost of these windows
there was what the children called a view of the Thames.
There was a gap of a few yards wide between two high
brick houses: and through this gap might be seen the
broad river, with vessels of every kind passing up or
down. Outside the second window were some leads,
affording space for three or four chairs: and here it was
that Jane and Agnes liked to sit at work, on certain
hours of fine days. There were times when these leads
were too hot, the heat of the sun being reflected from the
surrounding brick walls; but at an earlier hour before
the shadows were gone, and when the air blew in from
the river, the place was cool, and the little girls delighted
to carry their stools to the leads, and do their sewing
there. There Philip would condescend to spend a part
of his mornings, in his Midsummer holidays, frightening
his sisters with climbing about in dangerous places, or
amusing them with stories of school-pranks, or raising his
ATL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL, 7

younger brother Hugh’s envy of the boys who were so
happy as to be old enough to go to school at Mr,
Tooke’s, at Crofton.

The girls had no peace from their brothers climbing !
about in dangerous places. Hugh was, if possible, worse
than Philip for this. He imitated all Philip’s feats, and —
had some of his own besides. In answer to Jane’s lec- :
tures and the entreaties of Agnes, Hugh always declared
that he had a right to do such things, ay he meant to be a
soldier or a sailor; and how should he be able to climb
the mast of a ship, or the walls of a city, if he did not
begin to practise new? Agnes was almost sorry they
had been to Broadstairs, he could see ships in the
Thames, when she considered that, if Hugh had not seen
so much of the world, he might have been satisfied to be
apprenticed to his father, when old enough, and to have
lived at home happily with his family. Jane advised
Agnes not to argue with Hugh, and then perhaps his wish
to rove about the world might go off. She had heard
her father say that, when he was a boy, and used to bring
home news of victories, and help to put up candles at
the windows on illumination nights, he had a great fancy
for being a soldier ; but that it was his fortune to see some
soldiers from Spain, and hear'from them what war really
was, just when peace came, and when there was no more
glory to be got; so that he had happily settled down to
be a London shop-keeper—a lot which he would not ex-
change with that of any man living. Hugh was very like
papa, Jane added ; and the same change might take place
in his mind, if he was not made perverse by argument
So Agnes only sighed, and bent her head closer over her
work, as she heard Hugh talk of the adventures he meant
8 THE OROFTON BOYS,

%0 have when he should be old enough to get away from
Old England.

There was one person that laughed at Hugh for this
fancy of his;—Miss Harold, the daily governess, who
came to keep school for three hours every morning,
When Hugh forgot his lesson, and sat staring at the
upper panes of the window, in a reverie about his future
travels ; or when he was found to have been drawing a
soldier on his slate instead of doing his sum, Miss Harold
reminded him what a pretty figure a soldier would cut
who knew no geography, or a sailor who could not make
his reckonings, for want of attending early to his arith-
metic. Hugh could not deny this; but he was always
wishing that school-hours were over, that he might get
under the great dining-table to read Robinson Crusoe, or
might play at shipwreck, under pretence of amusing
little Harry. It did make him ashamed to see how his
sisters got on, from the mere pleasure of learning, and
without any idea of ever living anywhere but in London;
while he, who seemed to have so much more reason for
wanting the very knowledge that they were obtaining,
could not settle his mind to his lessons. Jane was
beginning to read French books for her amusement in
*, leisure hours; and Agnes was often found to have
covered two slates with sums in Practice, just for plea-
sure, while he could not master the very moderate lessons
Miss Harold set him. It is true, he was two years
younger than Agnes: but she had known more of every-
thing that he had learned, at seven years old, than he
now did at eight. Hugh began to feel very unhappy.
He saw that Miss Harold was dissatisfied, and was pretty
gure that she had svcken to his mother about him. He
ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL, 9

felt that his mother became more strict in making him
sit down beside her, in the afternoon, to learn his lessona
for the next day; and he was pretty sure that Agnes
went out of the room because she could not help crying
when his sum was found to be all wrong, or when he
mistook his tenses, or when he said (as he did every day,
though regularly warned to mind what he was about)
that four times seven is fifty-six. Every day these things
weighed more on Hugh’s spirits; every day he felt more
and more like a dunce ; and when Philip came home for
the Midsummer holidays, and told all manner of stories
‘about all sorts of boys at school, without describing any-
thing like Hugh’s troubles with Miss Harold, Hugh was
seized with a longing to go to Crofton at once, as he was cer-
tainly too young to go at present into the way of a ship-
wreck or a battle. The worst of it was, there was no
prospect of his going yet to Crofton. In Mr. Tooke’s
large school there was not one boy younger than ten ;
and Philip believed that Mr. Tooke did not like to take
little boys. Hugh was aware that his father and mother
meant to send him to school with Philip by-and-by;
but the idea of having to wait—to do his lessons with
Miss Harold every day till he should be ten years old,
made him roll himself on the parlour carpet in despair.
Philip was between eleven and twelve. He was happy
at school: and he liked to talk all about it at home,
These holidays, Hugh made a better listener than even
his sisters ; and he was a more amusing one—he knew
80 little about the country. He asked every question
that could be imagined about the playground at the
Crofton school, and the boys’ doings out of school;
and then, when Philip fancied he must know all about
10 THE CROFTON BOYS.

what was done, out came some odd remark which showed
what wrong notions he had formed of a country life.
Hugh had not learned half that he wanted to know,
and his little head was full of wonder and mysterious
notions, when the holidays came to an end, and Philip had
to go away. From that day Hugh was heard to talk less
of Spain, and the sea, and desert islands, and more of the
Crofton boys; and his play with little Harry was all of
being at school. At his lessons, meantime, he did not
improve at all.

One very warm day, at the end of August, five weeks
after Philip had returned to school, Miss Harold had
stayed full ten minutes after twelve o'clock to hear
Hugh say one line of the multiplication-table over and
over again, to cure him of saying that four times seven
is fifty-six ; but all in vain: and Mrs. Proctor had begged
her not to spend any more time to-day upon it.

Miss Harold went away, the girls took their sewing,
and sat down at their mother’s work-table, while Hugh
was placed before her, with his hands behind his back,
and desired to look his mother full in the face, to begin
again with “four times one is four,’ and go through
the line, taking care what he was about. He did so;
but before he came to four times seven, he sighed,
fidgetted, looked up at the corners of the room, off into
the work-basket, out into the street, and always, as if by
a spell, finished with “ four times seven is fifty-six.” Jane
looked up amazed—Agnes looked down ashamed ; hig
mother looked with severity in his face. He began the
line a fourth time, when, at the third figure, he started
as if he had been shot. It was only a knock at the door
that he had heard ; a treble knock, which startled nobody
ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL. 11

else, though, from the parlour door being open, it sounded
pretty loud.

Mrs. Proctor spread a handkerchief over the stockings
in her work-basket ; Jane put back a stray curl which
had fallen over her face ; Agnes lifted up her head with
a sigh, as if relieved that the multiplication-table must
stop for this time; and Hugh gazed into the passage,
through the open door, when he heard a man’s step there.
The maid announced Mr. Tooke, of Crofton; and Mr,
Tooke walked in. 5

Mrs. Proctor had actually to push Hugh to one side,—
So directly did he stand in the way between her and her
visitor. He stood, with his hands still behind his back,
gazing up at Mr. Tooke, with his face hotter than the
multiplication-table had ever made it, and his eyes staring
quite as earnestly as they had ever done to find Robinson
Crusoe’s island in the map.

“Go, child,” said Mrs. Proctor: but this wags not
enough. Mr. Tooke himself had to pass him under his
left arm before he could shake hands with Mrs. Proctor.
Hugh was now covered with shame at this hint that he
was in the way ; but yet he did not leave the room. He
stole to the window, and flung himself down on two)
chairs, as if looking into the street from behind the blind;
but he saw nothing that passed out of doors, so eager was
his hope of hearing something of the Crofton boys,—theix
trap-ball, and their Saturday walk with the usher. Not
a word of this kind did he hear. As soon as Mr. Tooke
had agreed to stay to dinner, his sisters were desired to
carry their work elsewhere,—to the leads, if they liked ;
and he was told that he might go to play. He had hoped
he might be overlooked in the window; and unwillingly
12 THE CROFTON BOYS,

did he put down first one leg and then the other from the
chairs, and saunter out of the room. He did not choose
to go near his sisters, to be told how stupidly he had
stood in the gentleman’s way ; so, when he saw that they
were placing their stools on the leads, he went up into
the attic, and then down into the kitchen, to see where
little Harry was, to play at schoolboys in the back yard.

The maid Susan was not sorry that Harry was taken
off her hands ; for she wished to rub up her spoons, and
fill her castors afresh, for the sake of the visitor who had
come in, ‘The thoughtful Jane soon came down with the
keys to get outa clean table-cloth, and order a dish of
cutlets, in addition to the dinner, and consult with Susan
about some dessert ; so that, as the little boys looked up
from their play, they saw Agnes sitting alone at work
upon the leads.

They had played some time, Hugh acting a naughty
boy who could not say his Latin lesson to the usher, and
little Harry punishing him with far more words than a
real usher uses on such an occasion, when they heard
Agnes calling them from above their heads. She was lean-
ing over from the leads, begging Hugh to come up to her,
—that very moment. Harry must be left below, as the
leads were a forbidden place for him. So Harry went
to Jane, to see her dish up greengage plums which he
must not touch: and Hugh ran up the stairs. As he
passed through the passage, his mother called him. Full
of some kind of hope (he did not himself know what), he
entered the parlour, and saw Mr. Tooke’s eyes fixed on
him. But his mother only wanted him to shut the door
as he passed; that was all. It had stood open, as it
usually did on warm days. Could his mother wish it
ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL. 13

shut on account of anything she was saying? It was
possible,

“O Hugh!” exclaimed Agnes, as soon as he set foot on
the leads. “What do you think?—But is the parlour
door shut? Who shut it?”

“Mother bade me shut it, as I passed.”

“O dear!” said Agnes, in a tone of disappointment ;
“then she did not mean us to hear what they were talk-
ing about.”

“What was it? Anything about the Crofton boys? |
Anything about Phil ?”

“TJ cannot tell you a word about it. Mamma did not
know I heard them. How plain one can hear what they
say in that parlour, Hugh, when the door is open! What
do you think I heard mamma tell Mrs. Bicknor, last
week, when I was jumping Harry off the third stair ?”

“Never mind that. Tell me what they are talking
about now. Do, Agnes.”

Agnes shook her head.

* Now do, dear.”

It was hard for Agnes to refuse Hugh anything, at any
time ; more still when he called her “dear,” which he
seldom did ; and most of all when he put his arm round
her neck, as he did now. But she answered,—

“T should like to tell you every word; but I eannot
now. Mamma has made you shut the door. She docs
not wish you to hear it,”

“Me! Then will you tell Jane?”

“Yes. I shall tell Jane, when we are with mamma at
work.”

“That is too bad!” exclaimed Hugh, flinging himself
down on the leads so vehemently that his sister was
14 THE OROFTON BOYS.

afraid he would roll over into the yard. “What does
Jane care about Crofton and the boys to what I do?”

“There is one boy there that Jane cares about more
than you do, or I, or anybody, except papa and mamma,
Jane loves Phil.”

“O, then, what they are saying in the pelanied is about
Phil.”

“T did not say that.”

“You pretend you.love me as Jane loves Phil! and

now you are going to tell her what you wont tell me!
' Agnes, I will tell you everything I know all my whole
life, if you will just whisper this now. Only just whisper
—Or, I will tell you what. I will guess and guess;
and you can nod or shake your head. That wont be °
telling.”

“For shame, Hugh! Phil would laugh at you for being
a girl, if you are so curious. What mamma told Mrs.
Bicknor was that Jane was her right hand. What do
you think that meant exactly ?”

“That Jane might give you a good slap when you are
so provoking,” said Hugh, rolling over and over, till his
clothes were covered with dust, and Agnes really thought
once that he was fairly going over the edge into the yard.

“ There is something that I can tell you, Hugh ; some-
thing that I want to tell you, and nobody else,” said
Agnes, glad to see him stop rolling about, and raise him-
self on his dusty elbow to look at her.

“Well, come, what is it ?”

“You must promise beforehand not to be angry.”

“Angry! when am I angry, pray? Come, tell me.”

“You must—you really must—I have a particular
reason for saying so—you must learn how much four
ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL. 15

times seven is. Now, remember, you promised not to be
angry.”

Hugh carried off his anger by balancing himself on his
head, as if he meant, to send his heels over, but that there
was no room. From upside down, his voice was heard
saying that he knew that as well as Agnes.

“Well, then, how much is it ?”

“ Twenty-eight, to be sure. Who does not know that ?”

“Then pray do not call it fifty-six any more. Miss
Harold. ”

“There’s the thing,” said Hugh. “When Miss Harold
is here, I can think of nothing but fifty-six. It seems to
sound in my ears, as if somebody spoke it, ‘four times
seven is fifty-six.’ ”

“You will make me get it by heart, too, if you say it
so often,” said Agnes. “You had better say ‘twenty-
eight’ over to yourself all day long. You may say it to
me as often as you like. I shall not get tired. Come,
begin now—‘ four times seven: ni

“T have had enough of that for to-day—tiresome stuff !
Now, I shall go and play with Harry again.”

“But wait—just say that line once over, Hugh. Ihave
a reason for wishing it. I have, indeed.”

“Mother has been telling Mr. Tooke that I cannot say
my multiplication-table! Now, that is too bad!” ex-
claimed Hugh. “And they will make me say it after
' dinner! What a shame!” E

“Why, Hugh! you know mamma does not like—you
know mamma, would not—you know mamma, never does
anything unkind. You should not say such things, Hugh.”

" Ay, there! you cannot say that she has not told Mz.
Tooke that T say my tables wr ng.”




16. THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Well—you know you always do say it wrong to her.”

“TJ will go somewhere. I will hide myself. I willrun
to the market while the cloth is laying. I will get away,
and not come back till Mr. Tooke is gone. I will never
say my multiplication-table to him !”

“Never? said Agnes, with an odd smile and a sigh.
“ However, do not talk of running away, or hiding your-
self, You will not have to say anything to Mr. Tooke |
to-day.”

“ How do you know?”

“T feel sure you will not. I donot believe Mr. Tooke
will talk to you, or to any of us. There you go! You
will be in the water-butt in a minute, if you tumble so.”

“T don’t care if Lam. Mr. Tooke will not come there
to hear me say my tables. Let me go!” he cried, strug-
gling, for now Agnes had caught him by the ankle. “If
I do tumble in, the water is not up to my chin, and it
will be a cool hiding-place this hot day.”

“But there is Susan gone to lay the cloth; and you
must be brushed ; for you are all over dust. Come up,
and I will brush you.”

Hugh was determined to have a little more dust first,
He rolled once more the whole length of the leads, turned
over Jane’s stool, and upset her work-basket, so that her
thimble bounded off to a far corner, and the shirt-collar
she was stitching fell over into the water-butt.

“There ! what will Jane say?” cried Agnes, picking
up the basket, and peeping over into the small part of the
top of the water-butt which was not covered,

“There never was anything like boys for mischief,”
said the maid Susan, who now appeared to pull Hugh in,
and make him neat, Susan always found time, between
ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL. : W7

laying the cloth and bringing up dinner, to smooth
Hugh’s hair, and give a particular lock a particular turn
on his forehead with a wet comb.

“Tet that alone,” said Hugh, as Agnes peeped into
the butt after the drowning collar. “I will have the top
off this afternoon, and it will make good fishing for
Harry. and me.”

Agnes had to let the matter alone ; for Hugh was so
dusty that she had to brush one side of him while Susan
did the other. Susan gave him some hard knocks while
she assured him that he was not going to have Harry up
on the leads to learn his tricks, or to be drowned. She
hardly knew which of the two would be the worst for
Harry. It was lucky for Hugh that Susan was wanted
below directly, for she scolded him the whole time she
was parting and smoothing his hair. When it was done,
however, and the wet lock on his forehead took the right
turn at once, she gave him a kiss in the very middle of it,
and said she knew he would be a good boy before the
gentleman from the country.

Hugh would not go in with Agnes, because he knew
Mr. Tooke would shake hands with her, and take notice
of any one who was with her. He waited in the passage
till Susan carried in the fish, when he entered behind
her, and slipped to the window till the party took their
seats, when he hoped Mr. Tooke would not observe who
sgt between Agnes and his father. But the very first
thing his father did was to pull his head hack by the hair
behind, and ask him whether he had persuaded Mr.
Tooke to tell him all about the Crofton boys.

Hugh did not wish to make any answer ; but his father
said “Eh?” and he thought he must speak ; so he said

b
18 THE CROFTON BOYS.

that Phil had told him all he wanted to know about the
Crofton. boys.

“Then you can get Mr. Tooke to tell you about Phil,
if you want nothing else,” said Mr. Proctor.

Mr. Tooke nodded and smiled; but Hugh began to
hand plates with all his might, he was so afraid that the
next thing would be a question how much four times
seven was.

The dinner went on, however ; and the fish was eaten,
and the meat, and the pudding; and the dessert was on
the table, without any one having even alluded to the
multiplication-table. Before this time, Hugh had become
quite at his ease, and had looked at Mr. Tooke till he
knew his face quite well.

Soon after dinner Mr, Proctor was called away upon
business ; and Hugh slipped into his father’s arm chair,
and crossed one leg over the other knee, as he leaned
back at his leisure, listening to Mr. Tooke’s conversation
with his mother about the sort of education that, he con-
sidered most fit for some boys from India, who had only a
certain time to devote to school-learning. In the course
of this conversation some curious things dropped about
the curiosity of children from India about some things
very common here ;—their wonder at snow and ice, their
delight at being able to slide in the winter, and their
curiosity about the harvest and gleaning, now approach-
ing. Mr. Proctor came back just as Mr. Tooke was
telling of the annual holiday of the boys at harvest-time,
when they gleaned for the poor of the village. As Hugh
had never seen a cornfield, he had no very clear idea of’
harvest and gleaning ; and he wanted to hear all he could.
‘When obliged to turn out of the arm-chair, he drew a
ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL. 19

stool between his mother and Mr. Tooke: and presently
he was leaning on his arms on the table, with his face
close to Mr. Tooke’s, as if swallowing the gentleman's
words as they fell. This was inconvenient; and his
mother made him draw back his stool a good way.
Though he could hear very well, Hugh did not like this,
and he slipped off his stool, and came closer and closer.

“And did you say,” asked Mr. Proctor, “that your
youngest pupil is nine ?”

“Just nine ;—the age of my own boy. I could have
wished to have none under ten, for the reason you. know
of. But——”

““T wish,” cried Hugh, thrusting himself in go that
Mr. Tooke saw the boy had a mind to sit on his knee,—
“J wish you would take boys at eight and a quarter.”

“That is your age,” said Mr. Tooke, smiling and making
room between his knees.

“ How did you know? Mother told you.”

“No; indeed she did not,—not exactly. My boy was
eight and a quarter not very long ago ; and he ——”

“ Did he like being in your school ?”

“He always seemed very happy there, though he was
so much the youngest. And they teased him sometimes
for being the youngest. Now you know, if you came,
you would be the youngest, and they might tease you
for it.”

- “I don’t think I should mind that. What sort of
teasing, though ?”

“Trying whether he was afraid of things.”

“What sort of things ?”

“Being on the top of a wall, or up ina tree. And
then they sent. him errands when he was tired, or when he

bh 2
20 THE CROFTON BOYS.

wanted to be doing something else. They tried too
whether he could bear some rough things without
telling.”
- “ And did he ?”
“Yes, generally. On the whole, very well. I see they
' think him a brave boy now.”

“T think I could. But do not you meal take boys as
young as I am ?”

“Such is really my rule.”

It was very provoking, but Hugh was here called away
to fish up Jane’s work out of the water-butt. As he had
put it in, he was the proper person to get it out. ‘He
thought he should have liked the fun of it; but now he
was in a great hurry back, to hear Mr. Tooke talk. It
really seemed as if the shirt-collar was alive, it always
slipped away so when he thought he had it. Jane kept
him to the job till he brought up her work, dripping and
soiled. By that time tea was ready,—an carly tea,
because Mr. Tooke had to go away. Whatever was said
at tea was about politics, and about a new black dye which
some chemist had discovered ; and Mr. Tooke went away
directly after.

He turned round full upon Hugh, just as he was
going. Hugh stepped back, for it flashed upon him that
he was now to be asked how much four times seven was,
But Mr. Tooke only shook hands with him, and bade
him grow older as fast as he could.
WHY MR. TOOKE CAME. 21

CHAPTER II
WHY MR. TOOKE CAME,

Artrr tea the young people had to learn their lessous
for the next day. They always tried to get these done,
and the books put away, before Mr. Proctor came in on
his shop being shut, and the business of the day being
finished. He liked to find his children at liberty for a
little play, or half an hour of pleasant reading ; or, in
the winter evenings, for a dance to the music of his
violin. Little Harry had been known to be kept up far too
late, that he might hear the violin, and that his papa might
enjoy the fun of seeing him run about among the rest,
putting them all out, and fancying he was dancing. All
believed there would be time for play with papa to-night,
tea had been so much earlier than usual. But Agnes
soon feared there would be no play for Hugh. Though
Jane pored over her German, twisting her forefinger in
the particular curl which she always twisted when she
was deep in her lessons ; though Agnes rocked herself
on her chair, as she always did when she was learning by
heart ; and though Mrs, Proctor kept Harry quiet at the
other end of the room with telling him long stories, in a
very low voice, about the elephant and Brighton pier, in
the picture-book, Hugh could not learn his capital cities,
He even spoke out twice, and stopped himself when he
saw all the heads in the room raised in surprise. Then
he set himself to work again, and he said “ Copenhagen”
so often over that he was not likely to forget the word ;
but what country it belonged to he could not fix in his
mind, though Agnes wrote it down large on the slate,
22 THE CROFTON BOYS,

in hopes that the sight of the letters would help him ts
remember. Before he had got on to “Constantinople,”
the well-known sound was heard of the shop-boy taking
the shop-shutters out of their day-place, and Mr. Proctor
would certainly be coming presently. Jane closed her
. dictionary, and shook back her curls from over her eyes ;
Mrs. Proctor put down Harry from her lap, and let him
call for papa as loud as he would; and papa came
bustling in, and gave Harry a long, toss, and several
topplings over his shoulder, and yet Hugh was not ready.

“Come, children,” said Mr. Proctor to Agnes and
Hugh, “we have all done enough for to-day. Away
with books and slates !”

“ But, papa,” said Agnes, “Hugh has not quite done.
If he might have just five minutes more, Miss
Harold.

“Never mind what Miss Harold says! That is, you
girls must ; but between this and Michaelmas ”

He stopped short, and the girls saw that it was a sign
from their mother that made him do so. He imme-
diately proceeded to make so much noise with Harry,
that Hugh discovered nothing more than that he might
put away his books, and not mind Miss Harold this time.
If she asked him to-morrow why he had not got down
to “ Constantinople,” he could tell her exactly what his
father had said. So, merry was Hugh’s play this evening,
He stood so perfectly upright on his father’s shoulders,
that he could reach the top of his grandmamma’s picture,
and show by his finger-ends how thick the dust lay upon
the frame: and neither he nor his father minded being
told that he was far too old for such play.

In the midst of the fun, Hugh had a misgiving, more




WHY MR, TOOKE CAME, 23

than once, of his mother having something severe to say
to him when she should come up to his room, to hear
him say his prayer, and +o look back a little with him
upon the events of the day. Besides his consciousness
that he had done nothing well this day, there were grave
looks from his mother which made him think that she
was not pleased, with him. When he was undressing,
therefore, he listened with some anxiety for her footsteps,
and, when she appeared, he wag ready with his confession
of idleness. She stopped him in the beginning, saying
that she had rather not hear any more such confessions.
She had listened to too many, and had allowed him to
Spend in confessions some of the strength which should
have been applied to mending his faults. For the pre-
sent, while she was preparing a way to help him to
conquer his inattention, she advised him to say nothing
to her, or to any one else, on the subject; but this need
not prevent him from praying to God to give him
strength to overcome his great fault.

“Oh, mother! mother!” cried Hugh, in an agony,
“you.give me up! What shall I doif you will not help
me any more ?”

His mother smiled, and told him he need not fear any
such thing. It would be very cruel to leave off providing
him with food and clothes, because it gave trouble to do
80 ; and it would be far more cruel to abandon him to his
faults, for such a reason. She would never cease to help
him till they were cured : but, as all means yet tried had
failed, she must plan, some others ; and meantime she did
not wish him to become hardened to his faults, by talking
about them every night, when there was no amendment
during the day.
ot TIIE CROFTON BOYS.

Though she spoke very kindly, and kissed him before
she went away, Hugh felt that he was punished. He felt
more unhappy than if his mother had told him all she
thought of his idleness. Though his mother had told
him to go to sleep, and blessed him, he could not help
. crying a little, and wishing that he was a Crofton boy.
He supposed the Crofton boys all got their lessons done

wmehow, as a matter of course ; and then they could go
to sleep without any uncomfortable feelings or any tears.

In the morning all these thoughts were gone. He had
something else to think about; for he had to play with
Harry, and take care of him, while Susan swept and
dusted the parlour : and Harry was bent upon going into
the shop—a place where, according to the rule of the
house, no child of the family was ever to set foot, till it
was old enough to be trusted ; nor to taste anything there,
asked or unasked. There were some poisonous things in
the shop, and some few nice syrups and gums; and no
child could be safe and well there who could not let alone
whatever might be left on the counter, or refuse any nice
‘taste that a good-natured shopman might offer. Harry
was, as yet, far too young; but, as often as the cook
washed the floor-cloth in the passage, so that the inner
shop door had to be opened, Master Harry was seized
with an unconquerable desire to go and see the blue and
red glass bowls which he was permitted to admire from
the street, as he went out and came in from his walks,
Mr. Proctor came down this morning as Hugh was catch-
ing Harry in the passage. He snatched up his boys,
packed one under each arm, and ran with them into the
yard. where he rolled Harry up in a new mat, which the
cook was going to lay at the house-door.
WITY MR. TOOKE CAME. 25

“There !” said he. “Keep him fast, Hugh, till the
passage-door is shut. What shall we do with the rogue
when you aré at Crofton, I wonder ?”

“Why, papa! he will be big enough to take care of
himself by that time.”

“Bless me! I forgot again,” exclaimed Mr. Proctor,
as he made haste away into the shop.

Before long, Harry was safe under the attraction of his
basin of bread and milk ; and Hugh fell into a reverie at
the breakfast-table, keeping his spoon suspended in his
hand as he looked up at the windows, without seeing any-
thing. Jane asked him twice to hand the butter before
he heard. :

“He is thinking how much four times seven is,” ob-
served Mr. Proctor: and Hugh started at the words.

“T tell you what, Hugh,” continued his father ; “if
the Crofton people do not teach you how much four times
seven is when you come within four weeks of next Christ-
‘mas day, I shall give you up, and them too, for dunces
all.”

All the eyes round the table were fixed on Mr. Proctor
in an instant.

“ There now !” said he, “I have let the cat out of the
bag. Look at Agnes!” and he pinched her crimson
cheek.

Everybody then looked at Agnes, except Harry, who
was busy looking for the cat which papa said had come
out of mamma’s work-bag. Agnes could not bear the
gaze, and burst into tears.

“ Agnes has taken more pains to keep the secret than
her papa,” said Mrs. Proctor. “The secret is, that Hugh
is going to Crofton next month.”
26 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Am I ten, then?” asked Hugh, in his hurry and
surprise.

“Scarcely ; since you were only eight and a quarter
yesterday afternoon,” replied his father.

“T will tell you all about it by-and-by, my dear,” said
his mother. Her glance towards Agnes made all the
rest understand that they had better speak of something
else now. So Mr. Proctor beckoned Harry to come and
sée whether the cat had not got into the bag again, as
she was not to be seen anywhere else. It is true, the
bag was not much bigger than a cat’s head ; but that did
not matter to Harry, who never cared for that sort of
consideration, and had been busy for half an hour, the ~
day before, in trying to put the key of the house-door
into the key-hole of the tea-caddy.

By the time Agnes had recovered herself, and the table
was cleared, Miss Harold had arrived. Hugh brought
his books with the rest, but, instead of opening them,
rested his elbow on the uppermost, and stared full at
Miss Harold.

“Well, Hugh !” said she, smiling.

“T have not learned quite down to ‘ Constantinople,”
said he. “Papa told me I need not, and not to mind
you.”

“Why, Hugh! hush!” cried Jane.

“He did,—he said exactly that. But he meant, Miss
Harold, that I am to be a Crofton boy,—directly, next
raonth.”

“Then have we done with one another, Hugh? asked
Miss Harold, gently. “Will you not learn any more
from me?”

“That is for your choice, Mise Harold,” observed Miy
MICHAELMAS-DAY COME, 27

Proctor. “Hugh has not deserved the pains you have
taken with him; and if you decline more trouble with
him now he is going into other hands, no one can wonder.”

Miss Harold feared that he was but poorly prepared for
school, and was quite ready to help him, if he would give
his mind to the effort. She thought that play, or reading
books that he liked, was less waste of time than his com-
mon way of doing his lessons; but if he was disposed
really to work, with the expectation of Crofton before him,
she was ready to do her best to prepare him for the real
hard work he would have to do there.

His mother proposed that he should have time to con-
sider whether he would have a month’s holiday, or a
month’s work, before leaving home. She had to go out
this morning. He might go with her, if he liked; and,
as they returned, they would sit down in the Temple
Garden, and she would tell him all about the plan.

Hugh liked this beginning of his new prospects. He
ran to be made neat for his walk with his mother. He

. knew he must have the wet curl on his forehead twice

over to-day ; but he comforted himself with hoping that
there would be no time at Crofton for him to be kept
standing, to have his hair done so particularly, an@ to be
scolded all the while, and then kissed, like a baby, at
the end.



CHAPTER III.
MICHAELMAS-DAY COME.

Hue was about to ask his mother, again and again
during their walk, why Mr. Tooke let him go to Crofton
before he was ten; but Mrs. Proctor wag grave and
28 THE CROFTON noys.

silent; and though she spoke kindly to him now and
then, she did not seem disposed to talk. At last, they
were in the Temple Garden; and they sat down where
there was no one to overhear them; and then Hugh
looked up at his mother. She saw, and told him, what
it was that he wanted to ask.

“Tt is on account of the little boys themselves,” said
she, “that Mr. Tooke does not wish to have them very
young, now that there is no kind lady in the house who

could be like a mother to them.” :
“ But there is Mrs. Watson. Phil has told me a hun-

dred things about Mrs. Watson.”

“Mrs. Watson is the housekeeper. She is careful, I
know, about the boys’ health and comfort; but she has
no time to attend to the younger ones, as Mrs. Tooke did,
—hearing their little troubles, and being a friend to them
like their mothers at home.”

“There is Phil ——”

“Yes, You will have Phil to look to. But neither
Phil, nor any one else, can save you from some troubleg
you are likely to have from being the*youngest.”

“Such as Mr. Tooke told me his boy had ;—being put
on thestop of a high wall, and plagued when he was tired:
and all that. I don’t think I should much mind those
things.”

“So we hope, and so we believe. Your fault is not
cowardice :

Mrs. Proctor so seldom praised anybody that her words
ofesteem went a great way. Hugh first looked up at her
and then down on the grass,—his cheeks glowed so. She
went on—

“You have faults,—faults which give your father and




MICHAELMAS-DAY COME. 29

me great pain ; and though you are not cowardly about
being hurt in your body, you sadly want courage of a
better kind,—courage to mend the weakness of your mind.
You are so young that we are sorry for you, and mean to
send you where the example of other boys may give you
the resolution you want so much.”

“ All the boys learn their lessons at Crofton,” observed
Hugh.

“Yes; but not by magic. They have to give thiir
minds to their work. You will find it painful and difti-
cult to learn this, after your idle habits at home. I give
you warning that you will find it much more difficult
than you suppose ; and I should not wonder if you wish
yourself at home with Miss Harold many times before
Christmas.”

Mrs. Proctor was not unkind in saying this. She saw
that Hugh was so delighted about going that nothing
would depress his spirits, and that the chief fear was his
being disappointed and unhappy when she should be far
away. It might then be some consolation to him to re-
member that she was aware of what he would have to go
through. He now smiled, and said he did not think he
should ever wish to say his lessons to Miss Harold, as long
as he lived. Then it quickly passed through his mind
that, instead of the leads and the little yard, there would
be the playground ; and instead of the church’ bells, the
rooks ; and instead of Susan with her washing’ and comb-
ing, and scolding and kissing, there would be plenty of
boys to play with. As he thought of these things, he
started up, and toppled head over heels on the grass, and
then was up by his mother’s side again, saying that he
did not care about anything that was to lappen at Crof-
30 THE CROFTON BOYS.

ton ;—he was not afraid,—not even of the usher, though
Phil could not bear him.

“Tf you can bring yourself to learn your lessons well,”
said his mother, “you need not fear the usher. But re-
member, it depends upon that. You will do well enough
in the playground, I have no doubt.”

After this, there was enly to settle the time that was
to pass—the weeks, days, and hours before Michaelmas-
day; and whether these weeks and days should be
employed in preparing for Crofton under Miss Harold,
or whether he should take his chance there unprepared
as he was. Mrs. Proctor saw that his habits of inatten-
tion were so fixed, and his disgust at lessons in the par-
lour so strong, that she encouraged his doing no lessons
in the interval. Hugh would have said beforehand that
three weeks’ liberty to read voyages and travels, and play
with Harry, would have made him perfectly happy; but
he felt that there was some disgrace mixed up with his
holiday, and that everybody would dook upon him with
a sort of pity, instead of wishing him joy; and this
spoiled his pleasure a good deal. When he came home
from his walk, Agnes thought he looked less happy than
when he went out ; and she feared his spirits were down
about Crofton.

His spirits were up and down many times during the
next three weeks. He thought these weeks would never
be over. Every day dragged on more slowly than the
last; at every meal he was less inclined to eat; and his
happiest time was when going to bed, because he was a
day nearer Crofton. His mother, foreseeing just what
happened, wished to have kept the news from him till
within a week of his departure, and had agreed with Mr.
;



MICHAELMAS-DAY COME. 31

Proctor that it should be so. But Mr. Proctor hated
secrets, and, as we see, let it out immediately. I
At last, the day came ;—a warm, sunny, autumn day,
on which any one might have enjoyed the prospect of a
drive into the country. The coach was to set off from

‘an inn in Fileet-street at noon, and would set Hugh

down. at his uncle’s door in time for dinner, the distance
being twenty-eight mile&. His uncle’s house was just
two miles from the school. Phil would probably be there
to meet his brother, and take him to Crofton in the
afternoon.

How to get rid of the hours till noon was the ques-
tion. Hugh had had everything packed up, over which
he had any control, for some days. He had not left him-
self a plaything of those which he might carry: and it
frightened him that his mother did not seem to think of
packing his clothes till after breakfast this very morning,
When she entered his room for the purpose, he was
fidgeting about, saying to himself ‘that he should never
be ready. Agnes came with her mother, to help: but
before the second shirt was laid in the box, she was in
tears, and had to go away ; for every one in the house
was in the habit of hiding tears from Mrs. Proctor, who
rarely shed them herself, and was known to think that
they might generally be suppressed, and should be so.

As Hugh stood beside her, handing stockings and
handkerchiefs, to fill up the corners of the box, she
spoke as she might not have done if they had not been
alone. She said but a few words; but Hugh never for-
got them.

“You know, my dear,” said she, “that I do not
approve of dwelling upon troubles. You know I never
THE CROFTON BOYS.

encourage my “children to fret about what cannot he
helped.”

‘There was nothing in the world that Hugh was more
certain of than this.

“And yet I tell you,” she continued, “that you will
not be nearly so happy at Crofton as you expect—at
least, at first. It grieves me to see you so full of expec-
tation:

“ Does it indeed, mother ?

“Tt does indeed. But my comfort is

“You think I can bear it,” cried Hugh, holding up
his head. “You think I can bear anything.”

“T think you are a brave boy, onthe whole. But that
is not the comfort I was speaking of; for there is a world
of troubles too heavy for the bravery of a thoughtless
child, like you. My comfort is, my dear, that you know
where to go for strength when your heart fails you. You
will be away from your father and me ; but a far wiser
and kinder parent will be always with you. If-+I were
not sure that you would continually open your heart to
Him, I could not let you go from me.”

“JT will—I always do,” said Hugh, in a low voice.

“Then remember this, my boy. If you have that help,
you must not fail. Knowing that you have that help, I
expect of you that you do your own duty, and bear
your own troubles, like a man. If you were to be all
alone in the new world you are going to, you would be
but a helpless child: but remember, when a child makes
God his friend, God puts into the youngest and weakest
the spirit of a man.”

“You will ask Him too, mother ;—you will pray Him
to make me brave, and—and. 4








MICHAELMAS-DAY COME, 33

“ And what else?” she inquired, fixing her eyes upon
him.

“ And steady,” replied Hugh, casting down his eyes ;
“for that is what I want most of all.”

“Tt is,” replied his mother. “I do, and always will,
pray for you.”

Not another word was said till they went down into
the parlour. Though it was only eleven o'clock, Miss
Harold was putting on her bonnet to go away: and
there was a plate of bread and cheese on the table.

“Lunch !” said Hugh, turning away with disgust.

“Do eat it,” said Agnes, who had brought it. “You
had no breakfast, you know.”

“ Because I did not want it ; and I can’t eat anything

Jane made a sign to Agnes to take the plate out of
sight: and she put some biscuits into a paper bag, that
he might eat on the road, if he should become hungry.

Neither Miss Harold nor Hugh could possibly feel any
grief at parting ; for they had had little satisfaction to-
gether ; but she said very kindly that she should hope to
hear often of him, and wished he might be happy as a
Crofton boy. Hugh could hardly answer her ;—so amazed
was he to find that his sisters were giving up an hour of
their lessons on his account,—that they might go with
him to the coach !—And then Susan. came in, about the
cord for his box, and her eyes were red :—and, at the
sight of her, Agnes began to cry again ; and Jane bent
~ down her head over the glove she was mending for him,

and her needle stopped. ; oi

“Jane,” said her mother, gravely, “if you are not
mending that glove, give ittome. It is getting late.” -

c
34 “THE CROFTON BOYS,

Jane brushed her hand across her eyes, and stitched
away again. Then she threw the gloves to Hugh with-
out looking at him, and ran to get ready to go to the
coach.

The bustle of the inn-yard would not do for little
Harry. He could not go. Hugh was extremely sur-
prised to find that all the rest were going ;—that even
his father was smoothing his hat in the passage for the
walk,—really leaving the shop at noon on his account!
The porter was at his service too,—waiting for his box !
Tt was very odd to feel of such consequence.

Hugh ran down to bid the maids good-bye. The cook
had cut a sandwich, which she thrust into his pocket,
though he told her he had some biscuits. Susan cried so
that little Harry stood grave and wondering. Susan
sobbed out that she knew he did not care a bit about
leaving home and everybody.’ Hugh wished she would
not say so, though he felt it was true, and wondered at it
himself. Mr. Proctor heard Susan’s lamentations, and
called to her from the passage above not to make herself
unhappy about that ; for the time would soon come when
Hugh would be homesick enough.

Mr. Blake, the shopman, came to the shop-door as they
passed, and bowed and smiled ; and the boy put himself
in the way, with a broad grin: and then the party walked
on quickly.

The sun seemed to Hugh to glare very much ; and he
thought he had never known the streets so noisy, or the
people so pushing. The truth was, his heart was beating
so he could scarcely see : and yet he was so busy looking
about him for a sight of the river, and everything he
wished to bid good-bye to, that his father, who held him


MICHAELMAS-DAY COME. 35

fast by the hand, shook him more than once, and told him
he would run everybody down if he could,—to judge by
his way of walking. He must learn to march better, if
he was to be a soldier ; and to steer, if he was to be a
sailor.

There were just two minutes to spare when they
reached the inn-yard. The horses were pawing and
fidgeting, and some of the passengers had mounted : so
Mr. Proctor said he would seat the boy at once. He
spoke to two men who were on the roof, just behind the
coachman; and they agreed to let Hugh sit between
them, on the assurance that the driver would look to his
voncerns, and see that he was set down at the right
place.

“Now, my boy, up with you!” said his father, as he
turned from speaking to these men. Hugh was so eager,
that he put up his foot to mount, without remembering
to bid his mother and sisters good-bye. Mr. Deeie
laughed at this ; and nobody wondered ; but Agnes cried
bitterly ; and she could not forget it, from that time till
she saw her brother again. When they had all kissed
him, and his mother’s earnest look had bidden him re-
member what had passed between them that morning, he
was lifted up by his father, and received by the two men,
between whom he found a safe seat.

Then he wished they were off. It was uncomfortable
to see his sisters crying there, and not to be able to cry
too, or to speak to them. When the coachman was draw-
ing on his second glove, and the ostlers held each a hand
to pull off the horse-cloths, and the last moment was
come, Mr, Proctor swung himself up by the step, to say
one thing more. It was—

: 02

a
36 THE CROFTON BOYS,

“Tsay, Hugh,—can you tell me,—how much 1s four
times sgven ?”

Mrs. Proctor pulled her husband’s coat-tail, and he
leaped down, the horses’ feet scrambled, their heads
«ssued from the gate-way of the inn-yard, and Hugh’s
family were left behind. In the midst of the noise, the
man on Hugh’s right hand said to the one on his left,

“There is some joke in that last remark, I imagine.”

The other man nodded ; and then there was no more
speaking till they were off the stones. When the clatter
was over, and the coach hegan to roll along the smooth
road, Hugh’s neighbour repeated,

“There was some joke, I fancy, in that last remark
of your father’s.”

“Yes,” said Hugh.

“Are you in the habit of saying the multiplication-
table when you travel?” said the other. “If so, we shall
be happy to hear it.”

“ Exceedingly happy,” cbserved the first.

“T never say it when I can help it,” said Hugh; “and
I see no occasion now.”

The men laughed, and then asked him if he was
going far.

“To Crofton. Iam going to be a Crofton boy,” said
Hugh.

“A what? Where is he going? his companions
asked one another over his head. They were no wiser
when Hugh repeated what he had said ; nor could the
coachman enlighten them. He only knew that he was
to put the boy down at Shaw’s, the great miller’s, near
thirty miles along the road.

“ Hight-and-twenty,” said Hugh, in correction ; “and
Crofton is two miles from my uncle’s.”


MICHAELMAS-DAY COME, 37

“ Hight-and-twenty. The father’s joke lies there,” ob-
served the right-hand man.

“No, it does not,” said Hugh. He thought he was
among a set of very odd people,—none of them knowing
what a Crofton boy was. A passenger who sat beside the
coachman only smiled when he was appealed to; so it
might be concluded that he was ignorant too; and the
right and left-hand men seemed so anxious for informa-
tion, that Hugh told them all he knew ;—about the
orchard and the avenue, and the pond on the heath, and
* the playground ; and Mrs. Watson, and the usher, and

Phil, and Joe Cape, and Tony Nelson, and several others
of the boys.

One of the men asked him if he was sure he was going

' for the first time,—he seemed so thoroughly informed of
everything about Crofton. Hugh replied that it was a
good thing to have an elder brother like Phil. Phil had
told him just what to take to Crofton, and how to take
care of his money, and everything.

“ Ay! and how do the Crofton boys take care of their
money ?”

Hugh showed a curious little inner pocket in his
jacket, which nobody would dream of that did not know.
His mother had let him have such a pocket in both his
jackets ; and he had wanted to have all his money in this
one now, to show how safely he could carry it. But his
mother had chosen to pack up all his five shillings in his
box,—that square box, with the new brass lock, on the
top of all the luggage. In this pocket there was only six-
pence now, ies sixpence he was to give the coachman
when he was set down.

Then he went on to explain that this Poe was not
out oi his own money, but given him by his father,
38 THE CROFTON BOYS.

expressly for the coachman. Then his right-hand com-
panion congratulated him upon his spirits, and began. to
punch and tickle him ; and when Hugh writhed himself
about, because he could not bear tickling, the coachman
said he would have no such doings, and bade them be
quiet. Then the passengers seemed to forget Hugh, and
talked to one another of the harvest in the north, and the
hopping in Kent. Hugh listened about the hopping,
supposing it might be some new game, as good as leap-
frog; though it seemed strange that one farmer should
begin hopping on Monday, and that another should fix
Thursday ; and that both should be so extremely anxious
about the weather. But when he found it was some sort
of harvest-work, he left off listening, and gave all his
attention to the country sights that were about him. He
did not grow tired of the gardens, gay with dahlias and
hollyhocks, and asters: nor of the orchards, where the
ladder against the tree, and the basket under, showed that
apple-gathering ‘was going on; nor of the nooks in the
fields, where blackberries were ripening; nor of the
chequered sunlight and shadow which lay upon the road ;
nor of the breezy heath where the blue ponds were
ruffled ; nor of the pleasant grove where the leaves were
beginning to show a tinge of yellow and red, here and
there among the green. Silently he enjoyed all these
things, only awakening from them when there was a stop
to change horses.

He was not thinking of time or distance when he saw
the coachman glance round at him, and felt that the speed
of the horses was slackening. Still he had no idea that
this was any concern of his, till he saw something that
raade him start,


MICHAELMAS-DAY COME. 39

“Why, there’s Phil!” he exclaimed, jumping to his
feet.

“This is Shaw’s mill, and there is Shaw; which
is all I have to do with,” said the coachman, as he
pulled up.

Hugh was soon down, with his uncle and Phil, and one
of the men from the mill to help. His aunt was at the
window too ; so that altogether Hugh forgot to thank his
companions for his safe seat. He would have forgotten
his box, but for the coachman. One thing more he also

' forgot.

“T say, young: master,” said the driver ; “remember
the coachman. Where's your sixpence ?”

“Oh, my sixpence !” cried Hugh, throwing down what
he held, to feel in his curious inner pocket, which was
empty.

“Lest you finda hole in your pocket, here is a sixpence
for you,” cried the right-hand passenger, tossing him his
own sixpence. “Thank you for teaching us the secret

_ of such a curious pocket.”

The coachman was impatient, got his money, and drove
off, leaving Hugh to make out why he had been tickled,
and how his money had changed hands. With a very red
face, he declared it was too bad of the man: but the man
was out of his hearing, and could never know how angry
he was.

“A pretty story this is for our usher to have against
you, to begin with,” was Phil’s consolation, “Every boy
will know it before you show yourself; and you will
never hear the last of it, I can tell you.”

“Your usher !” exclaimed Hugh, bewildered.

“Yes, our usher. That was he on the box, beside
40 THE CROFTON BOYS.

coachee. Did not you find out that much in all these
eight-and-twenty miles ?”

“How should 1? He never told me.”

Hugh could hardly speak to his uncle and aunt, he
was so taken up with trying to remember what he had
said, in the usher’s hearing, of the usher himself, and
everybody at Crofton.

CHAPTER IV.
MICIHAELMAS-DAY OVER.

Mrs. Saw ordered dinner presently ; and while it was
being served, she desired Phil to brush his brother’s
clothes, as they were dusty from his ride. All the while
he was brushing (which he did very roughly), and all the
first part of dinner-time, Phil continued to tease Hugh
about what he had said on the top of the coach. Mrs.
Shaw spoke of the imprudence of talking freely before
strangers ; and Hugh could have told her that he did
not need such a lecture at the very time that he found
the same thing by his experience. He did wish Phil
would stop. If anybody should ask him a question, he
could not answer without crying. Then he remembered
how his mother expected him to bear things; and he
almost wished he was at home with her now, after all his
longing to be away. This thought nearly made him cry
again ; so he tried to dwell on how his mother would
expect him to bear things: but neither of them had
thought that morning, beside his box, that the first trial
would come from Phil. .This again made him so nearly
ery that his uncle observed his twitching face, and, with-
e


MICHAELMAS-DAY OVER. 4l

out noticing him, said that he, for his part, did not want
to see little boys wise before they had time to learn ;
and that the most silent companion he had ever been
shut up with in a coach was certainly the least agreeable:
and he went on to relate an adventure which has hap-
pened to more persons than one. He had found the
gentleman in the corner, with the shaggy coat, to be a
bear—a tame bear, which had to take the quickest mode
of conveyance, in order to be ata distant fair in good
time. Mr. Shaw spun out his story, so that Hugh quite
recovered himself, and laughed as much as anghods at
his uncle having formed a bad opinion of Bruin in the
early twilight, for his incivility in not bowing to the pas-
senger who left the coach.

After dinner, Phil thought it time to be off to Crofton.
He had missed something by coming away at all to-day ;
and he was not going to run the chance of losing the
top of the class by not having time to do his Sallust
properly. Mrs. Shaw said thoy must have some of her
plums before they went, and a glass of wine; and Mr.
Shaw ordered the gig, saying he would drive them, and
thus no time would be lost, though he hoped Phil would
not mind being at the bottom of every class for once to
help his brother, seeing how soon a diligent boy might
work his way up again. Phil replied that that was not
so easy as people might think, when there was one like
Joe Cape determined to keep him down, if he could once
get him down.

“T hope you will find time to help Hugh up from the
bottom, in a class or two,” said Mr. Shaw. “You will
not be mre busy about your own affairs to look to hig
I suppose.”
42 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Where is the use of my meddling?” said Phil. “He
can’t rise for years to come. Besides ”

“Why can’t I rise?” exclaimed Hugh, with glowing
cheeks,

“That is right, Hugh,” said his uncle. “Let nobody
prophesy for you till you show what you can do.”

“Why, uncle, he is nearly two years younger than any
boy in the school ; and im

“And there is little Page above you in algebra. He
is about two years younger than you, Phil, if I remember
right.”

Hugh could not help clapping his hands at the pro-
spect this held out to him. Phil took the act for
triumphing over him, and went on to say, very insult-
ingly, that a little fellow who had been brought up among
the girls all his life, and had learned of nobody but Miss
Harold, could not be expected to cut any figure’ among
boys. Hugh looked so grieved for a moment, and then
suddenly so relieved, that his kind uncle wondered what
was in his mind. He took the boy between his knees
and asked him.

Hugh loved his uncle already, as if he had always
known him. He put his arms round his neck, and
whispered in his ear what he was thinking of ;—his
mother's saying that God could and would, if He was
sought, put the spirit of a man into the feeblest child.

“True !—quite true! Iam very glad you know that,
my boy. ‘That will help you to learn at Crofton, though
it is better than anything they can teach you in their
schoolroom.”

Mrs. Shaw and Phil looked curious; but Mr. Shaw
did not repeat a word of what Hugh had said. He put






MICHAELMAS-DAY OVER. 43

the boy away from his knees, because he heard the gig
coming round.

Mrs, Shaw told Hugh that she hoped he would spead
some of his Sundays with his uncle and her; and his
uncle added that he must come on holidays as well as
Sundays,—there was so much to see about the mill.

Phil was amused, and somewhat pleased, to find how
exactly Hugh remembered his description of the place
and neighbourhood. He recognised the duck-pond under
the hedge by the road-side, with the very finest black-
berries growing above it, just out of reach. The church
he knew, of course, and the row of chesnuts, whose leaves
were just beginning to fall; and the high wall dividing
the orchard from the playground. That must have been
the wall on which Mr. Tooke’s little boy used to be placed -
to frighten him. It did not look so very high as Hugh
had fancied it. One thing which he had never seen or
heard of was the bell, under its little roof on the ridge
of Mr. Tooke’s great house. Was it to call in the boys
to school, or for an alarm? His uncle told him it might
serve the one purpose in the day, and the other by night:
and that almost every large farm thereabouts had such a
bellon the top of the house.

The sun was near its setting when they came in sight
of the Crofton house. A long range of windows glit-
tered in the yellow light, and Phil said that the lower
row all belonged to the school-room ;—that whole row.

In the midst of his explanations Phil stopped, and his
manner grew more rough than ever—with a sort of shy-
ness in it too. It was because some of the boys were
within hearing, leaning over the pales which separated
the playground from the road,
44 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Tsay ; hollo there!” cried one. “Is that Prater you
have got with you?”

“Prater the second,” cried another. “He could not
have had his name if there had not been Prater the
first.”

“There! there’s a scrape you have got me into
already !” muttered Phil.

“Be a man, Phil, and bear your own share,” said Mr.
Shaw ; “and no spite, because your words come back to
you !” ;

The talk at the palings still went on, as the gig rolled
quietly in the sandy by-road.

“Prater!” poor Hugh exclaimed. “What a mame!”

“Yes; that is you,” said his uncle. “You know now
what your nickname will be. Every boy has one or
another: and yours might have been worse, because you
might have done many a worse thing to earn it.”

“ But the usher, uncle ?”

“ What of him ?”

“ He should not have told about me.”

“Don’t call him ‘Prater the third’ however. Bear
your own share, as I said to Phil, and don’t meddle with
another's.”

Perhaps Mr. Shaw hoped that through one of the
boys the usher would get a new nickname for his ill-
nature in telling tales of a little boy, before he was so
much as seen by his companions. He certainly put it
into their heads, whether they would make use of it
ornot.

Mr. Tooke was out, taking his evening ride ; but Mz.
Shaw would not drive off till he had seen Mrs. Watson,
and introduced his younger nephew to her, observing to
her that he was but a little fellow to come among such


MICHAELMAS-DAY OVER. 45

anumber of rough boys. Mrs. Watson smiled kindly at
Hugh, and said she was glad he had a brother in the
school. to prevent his fecling lonely at first. It would
not take many days, she hoped, to make him feel quite
at home. Mr. Shaw slipped half-a-crown into Hugh’s
hand, and whispered to him to try to keep it safe in
his inner pocket. Hugh ran after him to the door, to
tell him that he had five shillings already—safe in his
box: but his uncle would not take back the half-crown.
He thought that, in course of time, Hugh would want all
the money he had.
_ Mrs. Watson desired Phil to show his brother where
he was to sleep, and to help him to put by his clothes
Phil was .in a hurry to get to his Sallust ; so that he
was not sorry when Mrs. Watson herself came up to see
that the boy’s clothes were laid properly in the deep
drawer in which Hugh was to keep his things. Phil then
slipped away.

“Dear me!” said Mrs. Watson, turning over one of
Hugh’s new collars, “we must have something different
from this. These collars tied with a black ribbon are
never tidy. They are always over one shoulder or the
other.”

“My sisters made them ; and they worked so hard to
get them done!” said Hugh.

“Very well—very right: only it is a pity they are not
of a better make. Every Sunday at church, I shall sce
your collar awry—and every time you go to your aunt’s,
she will think we do not make you neat. I must sce
about that. Here are good stockings, however—pro-
perly stout. My dear, are these all the shoes you have
got?” -

“T have a pair on.”


46 THE CROFTON BOYS,

“ Of course ; I don’t doubt that. We must have you
measured to-morrow for some boots fitter for the country
than these. We have no London pavement here.”

And so Mrs. Watson went on, sometimes approving
and sometimes criticising, till Hugh did -not know
whether to cry or to be angry. After all the pains his
mother and sisters had taken about his things, they were
to be found fault with in this way!

When his box was emptied, and his drawer filled, Mrs.
Watson took him into the school-room, where the boys
were at supper. Outside the door the buzz seemed pro-
digious, and Hugh hoped that, in such a bustle, nobody
would notice him. Here he was quite mistaken. The
moment he entered there was a hush, and all eyes were
turned upon him, except his brother’s. Phil hardly
looked up from his book ; but he made room for Hugh
between himself and another boy, and drew the great
plate of bread within reach. Mrs. Watson saw that
Hugh had his basin of milk; and he found it a good
thing to have something to do while so many eyes were
upon him. He felt that he might have cried if he had
not had his supper to eat.

The usher sat at the top of the table, reading. Mrs.
: Watson called his attention to Hugh ; and Hugh stood
_upand made his bow. His face was red, as much with
anger as timidity, when he recognised in him the pas-
senger who had sat beside the coachman.

“Perhaps, Mr. Carnaby,” said Mrs. Watson, “you will
find something for this young gentleman to do, when he
has had his supper, while the rest are learning their
lessons. ‘To-morrow he will have his own lessons ; but
to-night ”




MICHAELMAS-DAY OVER, 4T

“There is always the multiplication-table,” replied
Mr, Carnaby. “The young gentleman is partial to that,
I fancy.”

Hugh reddened, and applied-himself to his bread and °
milk.

“Never mind a joke,” whispered Mrs. Watson. “We
wont plague you with the multiplication-table the first
evening. I will find you a book or something. Mean-
time, there is a companion for you—I forgot that.”

The good lady went down the room, and brought back
a boy who seemed to be doing all he could to stop ery-
ing. He dashed his hand over his eyes every minute,
and could not look anybody in the face. He had finished
his supper, and was at a loss what to do next, as he had
only arrived that morning, and did not know anybody at
Crofton. His name was Tom Holt, and he was ten
years old.

When they had told their names and ages, and where
they came from, the boys did not know what to say
next ; and Hugh wished Phil would stop murmuring over
his Sallust and looking in the dictionary every minute ;
but Mrs. Watson did not forget the strangers. She
brought them Cook’s Voyages out of the library, to
amuse themselves with, on condition of their delivering
the book to Mr. Carnaby at bedtime.

The rest of the evening passed away very pleasantly.
Hugh told Holt a great deal about Broadstairs and the
South Sea Islands, and confided to him his own hopes of
being a sailor, and going round the world; and, if pos-
sible, making his way straight through China,—the most
difficult country left to travel in, he believed, except some
-arts of Africa. He did not want to cross the Great
48 THE CROFTON BOYS..

Desert, on account of the heat. He knew something of
what that was by the leads at home, when the sun was on
them. What was the greatest heat Holt had ever felt
Then came the surprise. Holt had last come from his
uncle’s farm ; but he was born in India, and had lived
there till eighteen months ago. So, while Hugh had chat-
tered away about the sea at Broadstairs, and the heat
on the leads at home, his companion had come fourteen
thousand miles over the ocean, and had felt a heat nearly
as extreme as that of the Great Desert! Holt was very
unassuming too. He talked of the heat of gleaning in
his uncle’s harvest-fields, and of the kitchen when the
harvest-supper was cooking; owning that he remem-
bered he had felt hotter in India. Hugh heaped questions
upon him about his native country and the voyage ; and
Holt liked to be asked: so that the boys were not at all
like strangers just met for the first time. - They raised
their voices in the eagerness of their talk, from a whisper
so as to be heard quite across the table, above the hum
and buzz of above thirty others, who were learning their
lessons half-aloud. At last Hugh was startled by hear-
ing the words “ Prater,” “Prater the second.” He was
silent instantly, to Holt’s great wonder.

Without raising his eyes from his book, Phil ae SO as
to be heard as ae as the usher,—

“Who prated of Prater the second? Who is Prater
the third ?”

There was a laugh which provoked the usher to come
and see whereabouts in Sallust such a passage as this was
to be found. Not finding any such, he knuckled Phil's
head, and pulled his hair, till Hugh cried out—

£0, don’t, sir} Don’t hurt him go!”


MICHAELMAS-DAY OVER. 49

“Do you call that hurting? You will soon find what
hurting is, when you become acquainted with our birch,
You shall have four times seven with our birch Let
us see,—that is your favourite number, I think.”

The usher looked round, and almost everybody laughed.

* You see I have your secret ;—four times seven,” con-
tinued Mr. Carnaby. “What do you shake your head
for ?”

“ Because you have not my secret about four times
seven.”

“Did not I hear your father? Eh?”

“What did you hear my father say? Nobody here
knows what he meant? and nobody need know, unless I
choose to tell—which I don’t.—Please don’t teaze Phil
about it, sir: for he knows no more about it than you
do.”

Mr. Carnaby said something about the impertinence of
little boys, as if they could have secrets, and then declared
it high time that the youngsters should go to bed. Hugh
delivered Cook’s Voyages into his hands, and then bade
Phil good night. He was just going to put his face up to
be kissed, but recollected in time that he was to leave off
kissing when he went to school. He held out his hand,
but Phil seemed not to see it, and only told him to be
sure to lie enough on one side, so as to leave him room ;
and that he was to take the side of the bed next the
window. Hugh nodded and went off, with Holt and twe
more, who slept in the same room,

The two who were not new boys were in bed in 4
minute ; and When they saw Hugh wash his face and
hands, they sat up in bed to stare. One of them told him
that he had better not do that, as the maid would be

a’


50 THE CROFTON BOYS.

coming for the light, and would leave him in the dark,
and report of himif he was not in bed. So Hugh made a
great splutter, and did not half dry his face, and left the
water in the basin;—a thing which they told him was
not allowed. He saw that the others had not kneeled
down to say their prayers,—a practice which he had never
omitted since he could say a prayer, except when he had
the measles. He knew the boys were watching him ; but
he thought of his mother, and how she had taught him to
pray at her knee. He hid himself as well as he could
with the scanty bed-curtains, and kneeled. He could not
attend to the words he said, while feeling that eyes were
upon him ; and before he had done, the maid came in for
the candle. She waited; but when he got into bed, she
told him that he must be quicker to-morrow night, as
she had no time to spare waiting for the candle.

Hugh was more tired than he had ever been in his
life. This had been the longest day he had ever known.
It seemed more like a week than a day. Yet he could
not go to sleep. He had forgotten to ask Phil to be sure
and wake him in time in the morning: and now he mst
keep awake till Phil came, to say this. Then, he could
not but ask himself whether he liked, and should like,
being at school as much as he expected; and when he
felt how very unlike home it was, and how rough every-
body seemed, and how Phil appeared almost as if he was
ashamed of him, instead of helping him, he was so mise-
rable he did not know what to do. He cried bitterly,—
cried till his pillow was quite wet, and he was almost
choked with his grief; for he tried hard not to let his
sobs be heard. After awhile, he felt what he might do.
Though he had kneeled he had not really prayed: and if


MICHAELMAS-DAY OVER. - 51

he had, God is never weary of prayers. It was a happy
_ thought to Hugh that his very best friend was with him
still, and that he might speak to Him at any time. He
spoke now in his heart ; and a great comfort it was. , He
said——

“O God, I am all alone here, where nobody knows me;
_ and everything is very strange and uncomfortable. Please,

make people kind to me till I am used to them; and
_ keep up a brave heart in me, if they are not. Help me
not to mind little things; but to do my lessons well, that
I may get to like being a Crofton boy, as I thought I
should. I love them all at home very much,—better
_ than I ever did before. Make them love me, and think
_ ofme every day,—particularly Agnes,—that they may be
_ as glad as I shall be when I go home at Christmas.”
This was the most of what he had to say; and ho
_ dropped asleep with the feeling that God was listening
to him.

After a long while, as it seemed to him, though it was
_ only an hour, there was a light and some bustle in the
' room. It was Philand two others coming to bed.
“O Phil!” cried Hugh, starting bolt upright and

__ winking with sleep,—“I meant to keep awake, to ask you

to be sure and call me in the morning, time enough, —-
quite time enough, please.”

The others inaghba’ and Phil asked whether he had
not seen the bell, as he came ; and what it should be for
but to ring everybody up afihe morning.

“ But I might not hear it,” pleaded Hugh.

“Not hear it? You'll soon see that.”

“Well, but you will see that I really do wake, wont
you?”

d2
52 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“The bell will take care of that, I tell you,’ was all he
could get from Phil.

(IEE AN IOMNIDIR, We

CROFTON PLAY.

‘luau found, in the morning, that there was no danger of
his not hearing the bell. Its clang clang startled him out of
a sound sleep ; and he was on his feet on the floor ~lmost
before his eyes were open. The boys who were more
used to the bell did not make quite so much haste. They
yawned a few times, and turned out more slowly; so that
Hugh had the great tin wash basin to himself longer than
the rest. There was a basin to every three boys; and,
early as Hugh began, his companions were impatient long
before he had done. At first, they waited, in curiosity to
see what he was going to do after washing his face ; when
he went further, they began to quiz; but when they found
that he actually thought of washing his feet, they hooted
and groaned at him for a dirty brat.

“ Dirty !” cried Hugh, facing them, amazed, “ Dirty for
washing my feet! Mother says it is a dirty trick not to
wash all over every day.” .

Phil told him that was stuff and nonsense here. There
was no room and no time for such home-doings. The
boys all washed their heads and feet on Saturdays. He
would soon find that he might be glad to get his face and
hands done in the mornings.

The other boys in the room were, or pretended to be,
so disgusted with the very idea of washing feet in a basin,
that they made Hugh rinse and rub out the tin basin


CROFTON PLAY. 53

several times before they would use it, and then ther2 was
a great bustle to get down stairs at the second bell.
Hugh pulled his brother’s arm, as Phil was brushing out
of the room, and asked, in a whisper, whether there
would be time to say his prayers. i
~ “There will be prayers in theschool-room. You must
be in time for them,” said Phil. “ You had better come
with me.”

“Do wait one moment, while I just comb my hair.”

Phil fidgeted, and others giggled, while Hugh tried to
part his hair, as Susan had taught him. Me gave it up,
and left it rough, thinking he would come up and do it
when there was nobody there to laugh at him.

The school-room looked chilly and dull, as there was no
sunshine in it till the afternoon ; and still Mr. Tooke was
not there, as Hugh had hoped he would be. Mrs. Watson
and the servants came in for prayers, which- were well
read by the usher ; and then everybody went to business :
—everybody but Hugh and Holt, who had nothing to do.
Class after class came up for repetition ; and this repeti-
tion seemed to the new boys an accomplishment they
should never acquire. They did not think that any prac-
tice would enable them to gabble, as everybody seemed

able to gabble here. Hugh had witnessed something of it

before,—Phil having been wont to run off at home, “Sal,
Sol, Ren et Splen,” to the end of the passage, for the
admiration of his sisters, and so much to little Harry’s
amusement, that Susan, however busy she might be, came
to listen, and then asked him to say it again, that cook
might hear what he learned at school. Hugh now
thought that none of them gabbled quite so fast as Phil:
but he soon found out, by a glance or two of Phil’s to one
54 THE CROFTON BOYS.

side, that he was trying to astonish the new boys. It is
surprising how it lightened Hugh’s heart to find that his
brother did not quite despise, or feel ashamed of him, as
he had begun to think: but that he even took pains to
show off. He was sorry too when the usher spoke
sharply to Phil, and even rapped his head with the cane,
asking him what he spluttered out his nonsense at that
rate for. Thus ended Phil’s display ; and Hugh felt as
hot, and as ready to cry, as if it had happened to himself,

Perhaps the usher saw this ; for when he called Hugh
up, he was very kind. He looked at the Latin grammar
he had used with Miss Harold, and saw by the dogs’-ears
exactly how far Hugh had gone in it, and asked him
only what he could answer very well. Hugh said three
declensions, with only one mistake. Then he was shown
the part that he was to say to-morrow morning; and
Hugh walked away, all the happier for having something
to do, like everybody else. He was-so little afraid of the
usher, that he went back to him to ask where he had
better sit.

“Sit! O! Isuppose you must have a desk, though
sou have nothing to put init. If there is a spare desk,
you shall have it: if not, we will find a corner for you
somewhere.”

Some of the boys whispered that Mrs. Watson’s foot-
stool, under her apron, would do: but the usher over-
heard this, and observed that it took some people a good
while to know a new boy ; and that they might find that
a little fellow might be as much of a man asa big one.
And the usher called the oldest boy in the school, and
asked him to see if there was a desk for little Proctor
There was: and Hugh put into it his two or three


CROFTON PLAY. 55

school-books, and his slate; and felt that he was now
indeed a Crofton boy. Then, the usher was kinder than
he had expected; and he had still to see Mr. Tooke, of
whom he was not afraid at all. So Hugh’s spirits rose,
and he liked the prospect of breakfast as well as any boy
in the school.

There was one more rebuff for him, first, however. He
ran up to his room, to finish combing his hair, while the
other boys were thronging into the long room to break-
fast. He found the housemaids there, making the beds ;
and they both cried “Out! Out!” and clapped their
hands at him, and threatened to tell Mrs. Watson of his
having broken rules, if he did not go this moment. Hugh
asked what Mrs. Watson would say to his hair, if he went to
breakfast with it as it was. One of the maids was good-
natured enough to comb it for him, for once : but she said
he must carry a comb in his pocket ; as the boys were not
allowed to go to their rooms, except at stated hours.

At last, Hugh saw Mr. Tooke. When the boys entered
school at nine o'clock, the master was at his desk. Hugh
went up to his end of the room, with a smiling face, while
Tom Holt hung back; and he kept beckoning Tom Holt
on, having told him there was nothing to be afraid of.
But when, at last, Mr. Tooke saw them, he made no
difference between the two, and seemed to forget having
ever seen Hugh. He told them he hoped they would be
good boys, and would do credit to Crofton ; and then he
asked Mr. Carnaby to set them something to learn. And
this was all they had to do with Mr. Tooke for a long while.

This morning in school, from nine till twelve, seemed
the longest morning these little boys had ever known.
When they remembered that the afternoon would be as
56 THE CROFTON BOYS.

long, and every morning and afternoon for three months,
their hearts sank. Perhaps, if any one had told them
that the time would grow shorter and shorter by use, and
at last, when they had plenty to do, almost too short,
they would not have believed it, because they could not
yet feel it. But what they now found was only what
every boy and girl finds, on beginning school, or entering
upon any new way of life.

Mr. Carnaby, who was busy with others, found it
rather difficult to fill up their time. When Hugh had
said some Latin, and helped his companion to learn his
first Latin lesson, and both had written a copy, and done
asum, Mr. Carnaby could not spare them any more time
or thought, and told them they might do what they liked,
if they only kept quiet, till school was up. So they made
out the ridiculous figures which somebody had carved
upon their desks, and the verses, half-rubbed out, which
were scribbled inside: and then they reckoned, on their
slates, how many days there were before the Christmas
holidays ;—how many school-days, and how many Sun-
days. And then Hugh began to draw a steamboat in the
Thames, as seen from the leads of his father’s house ; while
Holt drew on his slate the ship in which he came over
from India. But before they had done, the clock struck
twelve, school was up, and there was a general rush into
the playground.

Now Hugh was really to see the country. Except
that the sun had shone pleasantly into his room in the
morning, through waving trees, nothing had yet occurred
to make him feel that he was in the country. Now, how-
ever, he was in the open air, with trees sprinkled all over
the landscape, and green fields stretching away, and the
”

CROFTON PLAY. 57

old church tower half-covered with ivy. Hugh screamed
with pleasure ; and nobody thought it odd, for almost
every boy was shouting. Hugh longed to pick up some
of the shining brown chesnuts which he had seen yester-
day in the road, under the trees ; and he was now canter-
ing away to the spot, when Phil raw after him, and
roughly stopped him, saying he would get into a fine
scrape for the first day, if he went out of bounds.

Hugh had forgotten there were such things as bounds,
and was not at all glad to he reminded of them now.
He sighed as he begged Phil to show him exactly where
he might go and where he might not. Phil did so in an
impatient way, and then was off to trap-ball, because his
party were waiting for him.

The chesnut-trees overhung one corner of the play-
ground, within the paling: and in that corner Hugh
found several chesnuts which had burst their sheaths,
and lay among the first fallen leaves. He pocketed
them with great delight, wondering that nobody had been
before him to secure such a treasure. Agnes should have
some ; and little Harry would find them nice playthings.
They looked good to eat too; and he thought he could
spare one to taste: so he took out his knife, cut off the
point of a fine swelling chesnut, and tasted a bit of the
inside. Justas he was making a face over it, and won-
dering that it was so nasty, when those which his father
roasted in the fire-shovel on Christmas-day were so good,
he heard laughter behind him, and found that he was
again doing something ridiculous, though he knew not
what; and in a moment poor Hugh was as unhappy as
ever. i

He ran away from the laughing boys, and went quite

s
58 THE CROFTON BOYS.

to the opposite corner of the playground, where a good
number of his schoolfellows were playing ball under the
orchard wall. Hugh ran hither and thither, like the
rest, trying to catch the ball ; but he never could do it;
and he was jostled, and thrown down, and another boy

fell over him ; and he was told that he knew nothing ©

about play, and had better move off.

He did so, with a heavy heart, wondering how he was
ever to be like the other boys, if nobody would take him
in hand, and teach him to play, or even let him learn.
Remembering what his mother expected of him, he tried
to sing, to prevent crying, and began to count the pales
round the playground, for soniathing to do. This pre-
sently brought him to a tree aduahi stood on the very
boundary, its trunk. serving instead of two or three pales.
It was only a twisted old apple-tree; but the more
twisted and gnarled it was, the more it looked like a tree
that Hugh could climb ; and he had always longed to
climb a tree. Glancing up, he saw a boy already there,
sitting on the fork of two branches, reading.

“Have you a mind to come up ?” asked the boy.

“Yes, sir, I should like to try to climb a tree. I never
did.”

“Well, this is a good one to begin with. Tl lend you
a hand; shall I?”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Don’t call me, ‘sir.’ I’m only a schoolboy, like you.
Tam Dan Firth. Call me Firth, as I am the only one of
the name here. You are little Proctor, I think—Proctor’s
brother.”

“Yes: but, Firth, I shall pull you down, if I slip.”

“Not you: but Pil come down, and so send you up

2


CROFTON PLAY. 59

i. é my seat, which is the safest te begin with. Stand
off.”

_ Firth swung inmeclh down, and then, showing Hugh
_ where to plant his feet, and propping him when he wanted
_ it, he soon seated him on the fork, and laughed good-
_ naturedly when Hugh waved his cap over his head, on
occasion of being up in a tree. He let him get down
_ and up again several times, till he could do it quite alone,
and felt that he might have a seat here whenever it was
— not occupied by any one else.

_ While Hugh sat in the branches, venturing to leave
_ hold with one hand, that he might fan his hot face with
his cap, Firth stood on the rail of the palings, holding
by the tree, and talking to him. Firth told him that
_ this was the only tree the boys were allowed.to climb,
F since Ned Reeve had fallen from the great ash, and hurt
_ hisspine. He showed what trees he had himself climbed
before that accident ; and it made Hugh giddy to think
_ of being within eight feet of the top of the lofty elm in
_ the chwrch-yard, which Firth had thought nothing of
_ mounting.

“Did anybody teach you?” asked Hugh.

“Yes; my father taught me to climb, when I was
younger than you.”

“ And had youanybody to teach you games and things,
when you came here ?”

“No: but I had learned a good deal of that before I
came ; and so I soon fell into the ways here. Have you
Eee body to teach you ?”

F “ No——yes why,no. I thought Phil would have
_. Showed me things ; but he does not seem to mind me at
all.” And Pah bit his lip, and fanned himself faster.


60 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Ah! he attends to you more than you think.”

“Does he? Then why. but what good does it do
me ?”

“What good? His holding off makes you push your
own way. It lets you make friends for vourself.”

“T have no friends here,” said Hugh.

“Yes, you have. Heream I. You would not have had
me, if you had been at Proctor’s heels at this moment.”

“Will you be my friend, then ?”

“That I will.”

“What, a great boy like you, that sits reading in a



tree! But I may read here beside you. You said there —

was room for two.”

“Ay; but you must not use it yet,—at least, not
often, if you wish to do well here. Everybody knows I
can play at anything. From the time I became cap-
tain of the wall at fives, I have had liberty to do what
I like, without question. But you must show that you
are up to play, before they will let you read in peace and
quiet.”

“But how can I, if i

“Once show your spirit,—prove that you can shift for
yourself, and you will find Phil open out wonderfully.
He and you will forget all his shyness then. Once shew
him that he need not be ashamed of you ”

“ Ashamed of me!” cried Hugh, firing up.

“Yes. Little boys are looked upon as girls in a school
tillthey show that they are little men. And then again,
you have been brought up with girls,—have not you?”

“To be sure ; and so was he.”

“ And half the boys here, I dare say. Well, they are
called Bettys till——”

”











|
|
CROFTON PnAyY. 61




“T am not a Betty,” cried Hugh, flashing again.
“They suppose you are, because you part your hair, and

; “What business have they. with my hair? I might as
_ wellcall them Bruins for wearing theirs shaggy.”

_ Verytrue. They will let you and your hair alone
when they see what you are made of; and then Phil.
- will—”

_ “He will own me when I don't want it; and now,
_ when he might help me, there he is, far off, never caring
about what becomes of me !”

_ “Ovyes, he does. He is watching you all the time

You and he will have it all out some day before Christ-
_ mas, and then you will see how he really cares about you.

_ Really your hair is very long,-—too like a girl’s. Shall I
cut it for you?”

TJ should like it,” said Hugh, “but I don’t want the
boys to think I am afraid of them; or to begin giving
up to them.”

_ You are right there. We will let it alone now, and
cut it when it suits our convenience.”

“What a nice place this is, to be sure!” cried Hugh,
as the feeling of loneliness went off. “But the rooks do
not make so much noise as I expected.”

“You will find what they can do in that way when
spring comes,—when they are building.”

“ And when may we. go out upon the heath, and into
_ the fields where the lambs are ?”

“We go long walks on Saturday afternoons ; out you
do not expect to see young lambs in October, do you?
“O, I forgot. I never can remember the seasons for
things.” er

-
62 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“ That shows you are a Londoner. You will learn all
those things here. If you look for hares in our walks,
you may chance to see one ; or you may start a pheasant;
but take care you don’t mention lambs, or goslings, or
cowslips, or any spring things ; or you will never hear the
last of it.”

“Thank you: but what will poor Holt do? He is
from India, and he knows very little about our ways.”

‘*They may laugh at him; but they will not despise
him, as they might a Londoner. Being an Indian, and
being a Londoner, are very different things.”

“And yet how proud the Londoners are over the
country! It is very odd.”

“ People are proud of their own ways all the world over.
You will be proud of being a Crofton boy, by-and-by.”

“ Perhaps I am now, a little,” said Hugh, blushing.

“What, already? Ah! you will do, I see. I have
known old people proud of their age, and young people of
their youth. I have seen poor people proud of their
poverty ; and everybody has seen rich people proud of
their wealth. I have seen happy people proud of their
prosperity, and the afflicted proud of their afflictions.
Yes; people can always manage to be proud: so you
have boasted of being a Londoner up to this time;
and from this time you will hold your head high as a
Crofton boy.”

“Tow long? Till when?”

“Ah! till when? What next! What do you mean
to be afterwards ?” : ’

“A soldier, or a sailor, or a great traveller, or some-
thing of that kind. I mean to go quite round the world,
like Captain Cook.”


CROFTON PLAY. 63

“Then you will come home, proud of having been
round the world; and you will meet with some old
neighbour who boasts of having spent all his life in the
house he was born in.” :

“Old Mr. Dixon told mother that of himself, very
lately. Oh dear, how often does the postman come?”

“You want a letter from home,do you? But you left
them only yesterday morning.”

“T don’t know how to believe that,—it seems such an
immense time! But when does the postman come?”

“ Any day when he has letters to bring,—at about four
in the afternoon. We see him come, from the school-
room ; but we do not know who the letters are for till
school breaks up at five.”

“O dear!” cried Hugh, thinking what the suspense
must be, and the disappointment at last to twenty boys,
perhaps, for one that was gratified. Firth advised him to
write a letter home before he began to expect one. If
he did not like to ask the usher, he himself would rule
the paper for him, and he could write a bit at a time,
after his lessons were done in the evening, till the sheet
was full.

Hugh then told his grievance about the usher, and
Firth thought that though it was not wise in Hugh to
prate about Crofton on the top of the coach, it was worse
to sit by and listen without warning, unless the listener
meant to hold his own tongue. But he fancied the usher
_ had since heard something which made him sorry; and
the best way now was for Hugh to bear no malice, and
remember nothing more of the affair than to be discreet
in his future journeys.

“What is the matter there ?” cried Hugh. “O dear!
64 THE CROFTON BOYS.

something very terrible must have happened. How that
boy is screaming !”

“Tt is only Lamb again,” replied Firth. “You will
soon get used to his screaming. He is a very passionate
boy—I never saw such a passionate fellow.”

“But what are they doing to him?”

“Somebody is putting him into a passion, I suppose,
There is always somebody to do that.”

“What a shame !” cried Hugh.

“Yes: I see no wit in it,” replied Firth. “ Anybody
may do it. You have only to hold your little finger up
to put him in a rage.”

Hugh thought Firth was rather cool about the matter.
But Firth was not so cool when the throng opened for a
moment, and showed what was really done to the angry
boy. Only his head appeared above ground. His school-
fellows had put him into a hole they had dug, and had
filled it up to his chin, stamping down the earth, so that
the boy was perfectly helpless, while wild with rage.

“That is too bad !” cried Firth. “That would madden
a saint.”

And he jumped down from the paling, ana ran to.
wards the crowd. Hugh, forgetting his height from the
ground, stood up in the tree, almost as angry as Lamb
himself, and staring with all his might to see what he
could. He saw Firth making his way through the crowd,
evidently remonstrating, if not threatening. He saw
him snatch a spade from a boy who was flourishing it in
Lamb’s face. He saw that Firth. was digging, though
half-a-dozen boys had thrown themselves on his back, and
hung on his arms. He saw that Firth persevered till
Lamb had got his ea arm out of the ground, and was


CROFTON PLAY. 65

-triking everywhere within reach. Then he saw Firth
Becca down and away, while the boys made a circle
round Lamb, putting a foot or hand within his reach, and
then snatching it away again, till the boy yelled with
rage at the mockery.

iogh could look on no longer. He scrambled down
from the tree, seampered to the spot, burst through the
throng, and seized Lamb’s hand. Lamb struck him a
heavy blow, taking him for an enemy; but Hugh cried
“T am your friend,” seized his hand again, and tugged
till he was first red and then black in the face, and till
Lamb had worked his shoulders out of the hole, and
seemed likely to have the use of his other arm ina trice.

Lamb’s tormentors at first let Hugh alone in amaze-
ment ; but they were not long in growing angry with
him too. They hustled him—they pulled him all ways—
they tripped him up; but Hugh’s spirit was roused, and
that brought his body up to the struggle again and again.
He wrenched himself free, he aed to his feet
again, as often as he was thrown down; and in a few
minutes he had plenty of support. Phil was taking his
part, and shielding him from many blows. Firth had got
Lamb out of the hole; and the party against the tor-
mentors was now so strong that they began to part off
till the struggle ceased. Firth kept his grasp cf the
spade ; for Lamb’s passion still ran so high that there
was no saying what might be the consequences of leaving
any dangerous weapon within his reach, He was still
funing and stamping, Hugh soning at him the while in
wonder and fear.

“There stands your defender, Lamb,” said Firth,
“thinking he never saw a boy in a passion before. Come,

% e
66 THE CROFTON BOYS.

have done with it for his sake: be a man, as he is. Here,
help me to fill up this hole—both of you. Stamp down
the earth, Lamb. Tread it well—tread your anger well
down into it. Think of this little friend of yours here—
a Crofton boy only yesterday !”

Lamb did help to fill the hole, but he did not say a
word—not one word to anybody, till the dinner-bell rang.
Then, at the pump, where the party were washing their
hot and dirty and bruised hands, he held out his hand to
Hugh, muttering, with no very good grace—

“T don’t know what made you help me, but I will
never be in a passion with you :—unless you put me out,
that is.”

Hugh replied that he had come to help because he
never could bear to see anybody made worse. He always
tried at home to keep the little boys and girls off “drunk
old Tom,” as he was called in the neighbourhood. It was
such a shame to make anybody worse! Lamb looked as
if he was going to fly at Hugh now: but Firth put his
arm round Hugh’s neck, and drew him into the house,
saying in his ear—

“ Don’t say any more that you have no friends here.
You have me for one ; and you might have had another
—two in one morning—but for your plain speaking about
drunk old Tom.”

“Did I say any harm ?”.

“ No—no harm,” replied Firth, laughing. “ You will

do, my boy—when you have got through a few scrapes

Pm your friend, at any rate,”
FIRST RAMBLE, 67

CHAPTER VI.

FIRST RAMBLE.



Hueu’s afternoon lessons were harder than those of the
morning ; and in the evening he found he had so much to
do that there was very little time left for writing his
letter home. Some time there was, however; and Firth
did not forget to rule his paper, and to let Hugh use his
ink. Hugh had been accustomed to copy the prints he
found in the Voyages and Travels he read ; and he could
never see a picture of a savage but he wanted to copy it.
He was thus accustomed to a pretty free use of his slate-
pencil. He now thought that it would save a great
deal of description if he sent a picture or two in his
letter: so he flourished off, on the first page, a sketch of
Mr. Tooke sitting at his desk at the top of the school,
and of Mr. Carnaby standing at his desk at the bottom
of the school.

The next evening he made haste to fill up the sheet, for
he found his business increasing upon his hands so fast
that he did not know when he should get his letter off,
if he did not despatch. it at once. He was just folding it
up when Tom Holt observed that it was a pity not to
put some words into the mouths of the figures, to make
them more animated; and he showed Hugh, by the
curious carvings of their desks, how to put words into
the mouths of figures. Hugh then remembered having
seen this done in the caricatures in the print-shops ir
London ; and he seized on the idea. He put into M>
Tooke’s mouth the words which were oftenest heard from

eZ
68 THE CROFTON BOYS.

hin, “ Proceed, gentlemen ;’ and into Mr. Carnaby’s,
“ Hold your din.”

Firth was too busy with his sense-verses to mind the
little boys, as they giggled, with their heads close together,
over Hugh’s sheet of paper; but the usher was never too
busy to be aware of any fun which might possibly con-
cern his dignity. He had his eye on the new boys the
whole while. He let Hugh direct his letter, and paint up
a stroke or two which did not look so well as the rest ;
and it was not till Hugh was rolling the water about on
his tongue that he interfered. Mr. Carnaby then came
up, tapped Hugh’s head, told him not to get on so fast,
for that every letter must be looked over before it went
to the post. While saying this, he took the letter, and put
it into his waistcoat pocket. In vain Hugh begged to
have it again, saying he would write another. The more
he begged, and the more dismayed Tom Holt looked, the
less Mr. Carnaby would attend to either. Firth let him-
self be interrupted to hear the case: but he could do
nothing in it. It was a general rule, which he thought
every boy had known ; and it was too late now to prevent
the letter being looked over.

Mr. Carnaby was so angry at the liberty Hugh had
taken with his face and figure, that, in spite of all
prayers, and a good many tears, he walked up the
school with the letter, followed by poor Hugh, as soon as
Mr. Tooke had taken his seat next morning. Hugh
thought that Holt, who had put him up to the most
offensive part of the pictures, might have borne him com-
pany; but Holt was a timid boy, and he really had
not courage to leave his seat. So Hugh stood alone,
awaiting Mr, Tooke’s awful words, while the whole of


FIRST RAMBLE. 69

the first class looked up from their books, in expectation
of what was to happen. They waited some time for the
master’s words; for he was trying to help laughing.
He and Mr. Carnaby were so much alike in the pictures,
and both so like South Sea islanders, that it was impos-
sible to help laughing at the thought of this sketch going
abroad as a representation of the Crofton masters. At
last, all parties laughed aloud, and Mr. Tooke handed
Hugh his wafer-glass, and bade him wafer up his letter,
and by all means send it. Mr. Carnaby could not remain
offended, if his principal was not angry: so here the
matter ended, except that Hugh made some strong reso-
lutions about his future letters ; and that the corners of
the master’s mouth were seen to be out of their usual
order several times in the course of the morning.

This incident, and everything which haunted Hugh's
mind, and engrossed his attention, was a serious evil to .
him ; for his business soon grew to be more than his
habit of mind was equal to. In a few days, he learned
to envy the boys (and they were almost the whole school)
who could fix their attention completely and imme-
diately on the work before them, and relax as completely,
when it was accomplished. When his eyes were wan-
dering, they observed boy after boy frowning over his
dictionary, or repeating to himself, earnestly and with-
out pause ; and presently the business was done, and the
learner at ease, feeling confident that he was ready te
meet his master. After double the time had nassed,
Hugh was still trying to get the meaning of his lesson
into his head—going over the same words a dozen times,
without gaining any notion of their meaning—suffering,
in short, from his long habit of inattention at home. He
70 THE CROFTON BOYS.

did now try hard; but he seemed to get only heud.
aches for his pains. His brother saw enough to make
him very sorry for Hugh before ten days was over. He
might not, perhaps, have been struck with his anxious
countenance, his frequent starts, and his laying his head
down on his desk because it ached so, if it had not been
for what happened at night. Sometimes Hugh started
out of bed, and kegan to dress, when the elder boys went
up with their light, only an hour after the younger ones.
Sometimes he would begin saying his syntax in the
middle of the night, fancying he was standing before
Mr. Carnaby; and once, he walked in his sleep as far as
the head of the stairs, and then suddenly woke, and
could not make out where he was. Phil should have
told Mr. Tooke of these things ; but Hugh was so very
anxious*that nobody should know of his “ tricks” (as the
boys in his room called his troubles), that Phil only men-
tioned the matter to Mrs. Watson, who had known so
many bad sleepers among little boys, and had so little idea
that the habit was anything new, that she took scarcely
any notice of it. She had his hair cut very short and
close, and saw that he took a moderate supper, and was
satisfied that all would be well. Hugh did not part with
his hair till he had joked himself about its length, as
much as any one could quiz him for it. When he had
pulled it down over the end of his nose, and peeped
through it, like an owl out of an ivy-bush, he might be
supposed to part with ib voluntarily, and not because he
was laughed at.

Phil's observation of his brother’s toil and trouble led
him to give him some help. Almost every day he would hear
Hugh say his lesson—or try to say it; for the poor boy
seldom succeeded. Phil sometimes called him stupid, and


7

FIRST RAMBLE. 71

sometimes refrained from saying so, whatever he might
think ; but there really was very little difference in the
result, whether Phil heard the lessons beforehand or not;
and it gave Joe Cape a great advantage over Phil that
he had no little brother to attend to. Considering how
selfish rivalship is apt to make boys (and even men), it
was perhaps no wonder that Phil sometimes kept out of
Hugh’s way at the right hour, saying to himself that his
proper business was to do his lessons, and get or keep
_ ahead of Joe Cape; and that Hugh must take his chance,
and work his own way, as other boys had to do. This
conduct might not be wondered at in Phil; but it hurt
Hugh, and made him do his lessons all the worse. He
did not like to expose his brother’s unkindness to any
one, or he would oftener have asked Firth to help
him. Firth, too, had plenty of work of his own to do,
More than once, however, Firth met the little lad, wan-
dering about, with his grammar in his hand, in search of
* the hidden Phil 3 and then Firth would stop him, and sit
down with him, and have patience, and give him such
clear explanations, such good examples of the rules he
was to learn, that it all became easy, and Hugh found
his lessons were to him only what those of other boys
seemed to them. Still, however, and at the best, Hugh
was, as a learner, far too much at the mercy of circum-
stances—the victim of what passed before his eyes, or
was said within his hearing.

Boys who find difficulty in attending to their lessong
are sure to be more teased with interruptions than any
others. Holt had not the habit of learning ; and he and
Hugh were continually annoyed by the boys who sat
near them watching how they got on, and making re
marks upon them. One day, Mr. Tooke was called ont
72 THE CROFTON BOYS.

of the school-room to a visitor, and Mr. Carnaby went
up to take the master’s place, and hear his class. This
was too good an opportunity for the boys below to let
slip; and they began to play tricks,—most of them
directed against Hugh and Tom Holt. One boy, Warner,
began to make the face that always made Holt laugh,
however he tried to be grave. Page drew a caricature
of Mrs. Watson on his slate, and heid it up; and Davi-
son took a mask out of his desk, and even ventured to tie
it on, as if it had not been school-time.

“T declare I can’t learn my lesson—tis too bad !”
cried Hugh.

«Tis a shame !” said Tom Holt, sighing for breath after
his struggle not to laugh. “We shall never be ready.”

Hugh made gestures of indignation at the boys,
which only caused worse faces to be made, and the mask
to nod.

“We wont look at them,” proposed Holt. “Let us
cover our eyes, and not look up at all.”

Hugh put his hands before his eyes; but still his
mind’s eye saw the guinning mask, and his lesson did nos
get on. Besides, a piece of wet sponge lighted on the
very page he was learning from. He looked up fiercely,
to see who had thrown it. It was no other than Tooke,
who belonged to that class :—it was Tooke, to judge by

his giggle, and his pretending to hide his face, as if —

ashamed. Hugh tossed back the sponge, so as to hit
Tooke on the nose. Then Tooke was angry, and threw
itagain, and the sponge passed backwards and forwards
several times : for Hugh was by this time very angry,—
boiling with indignation at the hardship of not being
able to learn his lesson, when he really would if he
FIRST RAMBLE, 73

could. While the sponge was still passing to and fro,
Mr. Carnaby’s voice was heard from the far end of the
room, desiring Warner, Page, Davison, and Tooke to be
quiet, and let the boys alone ‘till Mr. Tooke came in,
when Mr. Tooke would take his own measures.

Hugh, wondering how Mr. Carnaby knew, at that dis-

_ tance, what was going on, found that Holt was uo longer



by his side. In a moment, Holt returned to hic eat,
flushed and out of breath. A very slight hiss we, Acard
from every form near, as he came down the room.

“O! Holt! you have been telling tales !” cried Hugh.

“Telling tales !” exclaimed Holt, in consternation, for
Holt knew nothing of school ways. “I never thought of
that. They asked me to tell Mr. Carnaby that we could
not learn our lessons.”

“They ! Who? I am sure I never asked you.”

} “No; you did not: but Harvey and Prince did,—
. and Gillingham. They said Mr. Carnaby would soon

make those fellows quiet ; and they told me to go.”

“You hear! They are calling you ‘tell-tale. That
will be your name now. Oh, Holt! you should not have
told tales. However, I will stand by you,” Hugh eon-
tinued, seeing the terror that Holt was in.

“T meant no harm,” said Holt, trembling. “Was not
it a shame that they would not let us learn our lessons ?”

“ Yes, it was—but - :

At this moment Mr. Tooke entered the room. As he
passed the forms, the boys were all bent over their books,
as if they could think of nothing else. Mr. Tooke
walked up the room to his desk, and Mr. Carnaby walked
down the room to his desk ; and then Mr. Carnaby said,
quite aloud,



%
74 - THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Mr. Tooke, sir.”

“Well.”

Here Holt sprang from his desk, and ran to the usher
and besought him not to say a word about what Warner's
class had been doing. He even hung on Mr. Carnaby’s
arm in entreaty ; but Mr. Carnaby shook him off, and
commanded him back to his seat. Then the whole school
heard Mr. Tooke told about the wry faces and the mask,
and the trouble of the little boys. Mr. Tooke was not
often angry; but when he was, his face grew white, and
his lips trembled. His face was white now. He stood
up, and called before him the little boy who had informed.
Hugh chose to go with Holt, though Holt had not gone
up with him about the letter, the other day ; and Holt
felt how kind this was. Mr. Tooke desired to know who
the offenders were ; and as they were named, he called to
them to stand up in their places. Then came the sen-
tence. Mr. Tooke would never forgive advantage being
taken of his absence. Ifthere were boys who could not be
trusted while his back was turned, they must be made
to remember him when he waseout of sight, by punish-
ment. Page must remain in school after hours, to
learn twenty lines of Virgil ; Davison twenty ; Tooke
forty ——

Here everybody looked round to see how Tooke bore
his father being so angry with him.

“ Please, sir,” cried one boy, “I saw little Proctor
throw a sponge at Tooke. He did it twice.”

“ Neyer mind!” answered Tooke. “I threw it at him
first. It is my sponge.”

“ And Warner,” continued the master, as if he had
not heard the interruption, “considering that Warner


FIRST RAMBLE, 73

bas got off toe easily for many pranks of late,-—Warner
seventy.” ;

Seventy! The idea of having anybody condemned,
through him, to learn seventy lines of Latin by heart,
made Holt so miserable, that the word seventy seemed
really to prick his very ears. Though Mr. Tooke’s face
was still white, Holt ventured up to hin—

“ Pray, sir ”

* Not a word of intercession for those boys?” said the
master, “TI will not hear a word in their favour.”

“Then, sir

BavViell..”

“T only want to say, then, that Proctor told no tales,
sir. I did not mean any harm, sir, but I told, be-
cause ”

“ Never mind that,” cred Hugh, afraid that he would
now be telling of Harvey, Prince, and Gillingham, who
had persuaded him to go up.

“T have nothing to do with that. That is your affair,”
said the master, sending the boys back to their seats.

Poor Holt had cause to rue this morning, for long
after. He was weary of the sound of hissing, and of the







_ name * tell-tale ;” and the very boys who had prompted him

to go up were at first silent, and then joined against him.
He complained to Hugh of the difficulty of knowing what
it was right to do. He had been angry on Hugh’s account
chiefly ; and he still thought it was very unjust to hinder
their lessons, when they wished not to be idle: and yet
they were all treating him as if he had done something
worse than the boys with the mask. Hugh thought all
this was true; but he believed it was settled among
schoolboys (though Holt had never had the opportunity
76 THE CROFTON BOYS.

of knowing it) that it was a braver thing for boys to bear
any teasing from one another than to call in the power of
the master to help. A boy who did that was supposed
not to be able to take care of himself; and for this he was
despised, besides being disliked, for having brought punish-
ment upon his companions.

Holt wished Hugh had not been throwing sponges at
she time :—he wished Hugh had prevented his going up.
He would take good care how he told tales again.

“You had better say so,” advised Hugh; “and then
they will see that you had never been at.school, and did
not know how to manage.”

The first Saturday had been partly dreaded, and partly
longed for, by Hugh. He had longed for the afternoon’s
ramble ; but Saturday morning was the time for saying
tables, among other things. Nothing happened as he had
expected. The afternoon was so rainy that there was no
going out ; and, as for the tables, he was in a class of
five; and “four times seven” did not come to him in
regular course. Hight times seven did, and he said
“fifty-six” with great satisfaction. Mr. Carnaby asked
him afterwards the dreaded question, but he was on his
guard; and as he answered it right, and the usher had
not found out the joke, he hoped he should hear no more
of the matter.

The next Saturday was fine, and at last he was to have
the walk he longed for. The weekly “repetitions were
over, dinner was done, Mr. Carnaby .appeared with his
hat on, the whole throng burst into the open air, and out
of bounds, and the new boys were wild with expectation
and delight. When they had passed the churchyard and
the green, and were wading through the sandy road which


FIRST RAMBLE, 77

led up to the heath, Firth saw Hugh running and leaping
dither and thither, not knowing what to do with his
spirits. Firth called him, and putting his arm round
_ Hugh's neck, so as to keep him prisoner, said he did not
know how he might want his strength before he got home,
and he had better not spend it on a bit of sandy road. So

_ Hugh was made to walk quietly, and gained his breath

before the breezy heath was reached.

On the way, he saw that a boy of the name of Dale,
whom he had never particularly observed before, was a
good deal teased by some boys who kept crossing their
hands before them, and curtseying like girls, talking in a
mincing way, and calling one another Amelia, with great
_ affectation. Dale tried to get away, but he was followed,
_ whichever way he turned.

“What do they mean by that?’ inquired Hugh of
Firth.

“Dale has a sister at a school not far off, and her name

_ is Amelia; and she came to see him to-day. Ah! you
have not found out yet that boys are laughed at about
their sisters, particularly if the girls have fine names.”

“What ashame!” cried Hugh; words which he had

___used very often already since he came to Crofton.



He broke from Firth, ran up to Dale, and said to him,
in a low voice, “I have two sisters, and one of them is
_ called Agnes.”

“ Don’t let them come to see you, then, or these fellows
will quiz you as they dome. Asif I could help having
a sister Amelia !”

* “Why, you are not sorry for that? You would not
wish your sister dead, or not born, would you?”

“No; but I wish she was not hereabouts: that is, I
v8 THE CROFTON BOYS.

wish she had not come up to the pales, with the maid.
servant behind her, for everybody to see. And then,
when Mr. Tooke sent us into the orchard together, some
spies were peeping over the wall at us all the time.”

“T only wish Agnes would come,” cried Hugh, “and I
would i"

“Ah! you think so now; but depend upon it, you
would like much better to see her. at home. Why, her
name is finer than my sister's! I wonder what girls ever
have such names for !”

“T don’t see that these names are finer than some boys’
names. There’s Frazer, is not his name Colin? And
then there’s Hercules Fisticuff. ”

“Why, you know—to be sure you know that is a nick-
name?” said Dale.

“Ts it? I never thought pf that,’ replied Hugh.
“What is his real name ?”

“Samuel Jones. However, there is Colin Frazer—
and Fry, his name is Augustus Adolphus; I will play
them off the next time they quiz Amelia. How old is
your sister Agnes ?”

Then the two boys wandered, off among the furze
bushes, talking about their homes ; and in a little while,
they had so opened their hearts to each other, that they
felt as if they had always been friends. Nobody thought
any more about them when once the whole school was
dispersed over the heath. Some boys made for a hazel
copse, some way beyond the heath, in hopes of finding a
few nuts already ripe. Others had boats to float on the
pond. A large number played leap-frog, and some ran
races. Mr. Carnaby threw himself down on a soft couch
of wild thyme, on a rising ground, and took out his book.






*

FIRST RAMBLE. 79

Bo Dale and Hugh felt themselves unobserved, and they
chatted away at a great rate. Not but that an interrup-
tion or two did occur. They fell in with a flock of geese,
and Hugh did not much like their appearance, never
having heard a goose make a noise before. He had eaten
roast goose, and he had seen geese in the feathers at the
poulterers’; but he had never seen them alive, and stretch
ing their necks at passengers. He flinched at the first
moment. Dale, who never imagined that a boy who was
not afraid of his schoolfellows could be afraid of geese,
luckily mistook the movement, and said, “Ay, get a
switch,—a bunch of furze will do, and we will be rid of
the noisy things.”

He drove them away, and Hugh had now learned, for
ever, how much noise geese can make, and how little
they are to be feared.

They soon came upon some creatures which were
larger and stronger, and with which Hugh was no better
acquainted. Some cows were grazing, or had been graz-
ing, till a party of boys came up. They were now rest-
less, moving uneasily about, so that Dale himself hesitated
for a moment which way to go. Lamb was near,—the
passionate boy, who was nobody’s friend, and who was
therefore seldom at play with others. He was also some-
thing of a coward, as any one might know from his fre-
quent bullying. He and Holt happened to be together
at this time ; and it was their appearance of fright at the
restless cows which frightened Hugh. One ccw at last
began to trot towards them at a pretty good rate. Lamb
ran off to the right, and the two little boys after him,
though Dale pulled at Hugh’s hand to make him stand
still, as Pale chose to do himself. He pulled in vain—

t
80 THE CROFTON BOYS.

Hugh burst away, and off went the three boys, over the
hillocks and through the furze, the cow trotting at some
distance behind. They did not pause till Lamb had led
them off the heath into a deep lane, different from the one
by which they had come. The cow stopped at a patch
of green grass, just at the entrance of the hollow way ;
and the runners therefore could take breath.

“ Now we are here,” said Lamb, “I will show you a
nice place,—a place where we can get something nice.
How thirsty I am !”

“And so am I,” declared Holt, smacking his dry
tongue. Hugh’s mouth was very dry too, between the
run and the fright.

“Well, then, come along with me, and I will show
you,” said Lamb.

Hugh thought they ought not to go farther from the
heath: but Lamb said they would get back by another
way,—through a gate belonging to a friend of his. They
could not get back the way they came, because the cow
was there still. He walked briskly on till they came to
a cottage, over whose door swung a sign ; and on the sign
was a painting of a bot#le and a glass, and a heap of
things which were probably meant for cakes, as there
were cakes in the window. Here Lamb turned in, and
the woman seemed to know him well. She smiled, and
closed the door behind the three boys, and asked them to
sit down: but Lamb said there was no time for that to-
day,—she must be quick. He then told the boys that
they would have some ginger-beer.

“But may we?’ asked the little boys.

“To be sure: who is to prevent us? ‘You shall see
how you like ginger-beer when you are thirsty.”
FIRST RAMMBIE. sl

The woman declared that it was the most wholesome
thing in the world ; and if the young gentleman did not
_ find it so, she would never ask him to taste her ginger-
beer again. Hugh thanked them both; but he did not
feel quite comfortable. He looked at Holt, to find out
what he thought: but Holt was quite engrossed with
watching the woman untwisting the wire of the first
bottle. The cork did not fly; indeed there was some
difficulty in getting it out: so Lamb waived his right, as
the eldest, to drink first ; and the little boys were so long
insettling which should have it, that the little spirit there
_ was had all gone off before Hugh began to drink ; and he
did not find ginger-beer such particularly good stuff as
Lamb had said. He would have liked a drink of water
better. The next bottle was very brisk: so Lamb seized
upon it; and the froth hung round his mouth when he
haddone: but Holt was no better off with his than Hugh
had been. They were both urged to try their luck again.
Hugh would not: but Holt did once; and Lamb, two or
three times. Then the woman offered them some cakes
upon a plate: and the little boys thanked her, and took
eachone. Lamb put some in his pocket, and advised the
others to do the same, as they had no time to spare. He
kept some room in his pocket, however, for some plums ;
/ and told the boys that they might carry theirs in their

handkerchiefs, or in their caps, if they would take care to

have finished before they came within sight of the uslier.

He then asked the woman to let them out upon the heath

through her garden gate; and she said she certainly

would when they had paid. She then stood drumming
with her fingers upon the table, and looking through the
__ window, as if waiting,



eo oe

ee

£
82 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Come, Proctor, you have half-a-crown,” said Lamb.
“Out with it!”

“ My half-crown !” exclaimed Proctor. “You did not
say I had anything to pay.”

“ As if you did not know that, without my telling you!
You don’t think people give away their good things, I
suppose! Come,—where’s your half-crownt My money
is all at home.”

Holt had nothing with him either. Lamb asked the
woman what there was to pay. She seemed to count
and consider; and Holt told Hugh afterwards that he
saw Lamb wink at her. She then said that the younger
gentlemen-had had the most plums and cakes. The charge
was a shilling a-piece for them, and sixpence for Master
Lamb :—half-a-crown exactly. Hugh protested he never
meant anything like this, and that he wanted part of his
half-crown to buy a comb with; and he would have
emptied out the cakes and fruit he had left; but the
woman stopped him, saying that she never took back
what she had sold. Lamb hurried him, too, declaring
that their time was up ; and he even thrust his finger
and thumb into Hugh’s inner pocket, and took out the
half-crown, which he gave to the woman. He was sure
that Hugh could wait for his comb till Holt paid him, and
the woman said she did not see that any more combing
was wanted: the young gentleman’s hair looked so
pretty as it was. She then showed them through the
garden, and gave them each a marigold full-blown. She
unlocked her gate, pushed them through, locked it behind
them, and left them to hide their purchases as well as
they could. Though the little boys stuffed their pockets
sill the ripest plums burst, and wetted the linings, they

‘
FIRST RAMBLE, &3




could not dispose of them all; and they were obliged to
give away a good many.
_* Hugh went in search of his new friend, and drew hira
aside from the rest to relate his trouble. Dale wondered
he had not found out Lamb before this, enough to refuse
to follow his lead. Lamb would never pay a penny.
_ He always spent the little money he had upon good
_ things, the first day or two; and then he got what he
_ could out of any one who was silly enough to trust him.
_ “But,” said Hugh, “the only thing we had to do with
_ each other before was by my being kind to him.”
_ “That makes no difference,” said Dale.
“But what a bad boy he must be! To be sure, he
_ will pay me, when he knows how much I want a comb.”
He will tell you to buy it out of your five shillings.
~ You let him know you had five shillings in Mrs. Watson’s
hands.”
“Yes; but he knows how I mean to spend that,—
_ for presents to carry home at Christmas. But I'll never
_ tell him anything again. Oh! Dale! do you really
_ think he will never pay me?”
__. “He never pays anybody ; that is all I know. Come,
—forget it all, as fast as you can. Let us go and see if
_ we can get any nuts.”
_ Haugh did not at all succeed in his endeavours to forget
_ hisadventure. The more he thought about it, the worse
_ it seemed; and the next time he spoke to Holt, and
_ told him, to remember that he owed him a shilling,
‘Holt said he did not know that,—he did not mean to
spend a shilling; and it was clear that it was only his
fear of Hugh’s speaking to Mrs. Watson or the usher,
that prevented his saying outright that he should not
f 2
THE CROFTON BOYS.

pay it. Hugh felt very hot, and bit his lip to make his
voice steady when he told Dale, on the way home, that
he did not believe he should ever see any part of his
half-crown again. Dale thought so too; but he advised
him to do nothing more than keep the two debtors
up to the remembrance of their debt. If he told so
powerful a person as Firth, it would be almost as much
tale-telling as if he went to the master at once; and
Hugh himself had no inclination to expose his folly to
Phil, who was already quite sufficiently ashamed of his
inexperience. So poor Hugh threw the last of his plums
to some cottager’s children on the green, in his way
home ; and, when he set foot within bounds again, he
heartily wished that this Saturday afternoon had been
rainy too; for any disappointment would have been
better than this scrape.

While learning his lessons for Monday, he forgot the
whole matter ; and then he grew merry over the great
Saturday night’s washing ; but after he was in bed, it
flashed upon him that he should meet uncle and aunt
Shaw in church to-morrow, and they would speak to Phil
and him after church ; and his uncle might ask after the
half-crown. He determined not to expose his compa-
nions, at any rate: but his uncle would be displeased;
and this thought was so sad that Hugh cried himself to
sleep. His uncle and aunt were at church the next
morning; and Hugh could not forget the ginger-beer, or
help watching his uncle : so that, though he tried several
times to attend to the sermon, he knew nothing about it
when it was done. His uncle observed in the churchyard
that they must have had a fine ramble the day before ;
but did not say anything about pocket-money, Neither

—
FIRST RAMBLE. 85



did he name a day for his nephews to visit him, though
he said they must come before the days grew much
_ shorter. So Hugh thought he had got off very well thus
far. In the afternoon, however, Mrs. Watson, who in-
vited him and Holt into her parlour, to look over the
pictures in her great Bible, was rather surprised to find
how little Hugh could tell her of the sermon, considering
how much he had remembered the Sunday before. She
had certainly thought that to-day’s sermon had been
_ the simpler, and the more interesting to young people, of
the two. Her conversation with Hugh did him good,
however. Jt reminded him of his mother’s words, and of
her expectations from him; and it made him resolve to
bear, not only his loss, but any blame which might come
_ upon him silently, and without betraying anybody. He
had already determined, fifty times within the twenty-
four hours, never to be so weakly led again, when his
own mindayas doubtful, as he had felt it all the time
_ from leaving the heath to getting back to it again.
He began to reckon on the Christmas holidays, when he
should have five weeks at home, free from the evils of
both places,—from lessons with Miss Harold, and from
Crofton scrapes.
It is probable that the whole affair would have passed
over quietly, and the woman in the lane might have
made large profits by other inexperienced boys, and Mr.
Carnaby might have gone on being careless as to where
the boys went out of his sight on Saturdays, but that
Tom Holt ate too many plums on the present occasion
_ On Sunday morning he was not well ; and was so ill by
___ the evening, and all Monday, that he had to be regularly
nursed ; and when he left his bed, he was taken to Mrs.
86 THE CROFTON BOYS,

Watson’s parlour,—the comfortable, quiet place whezs
invalid boys enjoyed themselves. Poor Holt was in very
low spirits; and Mrs. Watson was so kind that he
could not help telling her that he owed a shilling, and
he did not know how he should ever pay it; and that
Hugh Proctor, who had been his friend till now, seemed
on a sudden much more fond of Dale ; and this made it
harder to be in debt to him.

The wet, smeared lining of the pockets had told Mrs,
Watson already that there had been some improper in-
dulgence in good things ; and,when she heard what part
Lamb had played towards the little boys, she thought it
right to tell Mr. Tooke. My. Tooke said nothing till
Holt was in the school again, which was on Thurs-
day ; and not then till the little boys had said their
lessons, at past eleven o'clock, They were drawing on
their slates, and Lamb was still mumbling over his book,
without getting on, when the master’s awful voice was
heard, calling up before him Lamb, little Proctor, and
Holt. All three started, and turned red; so that the
school concluded them guilty before it was known what
they were charged with. Dale knew,—and he alone;
and very sorry he was, for the intimacy between Hugh
and him had grown very close indeed since Saturday.

The master was considerate towards the younger boys,
He made Lamb tell the whole. Even when the cowardly
lad “bellowed” (as his schoolfellows called his usual mode
of crying) so that nothing else could be heard, Mr.
Tooke waited, rather than question the other two. When
the whole story was extracted, in all its shamefulness,
from Lamb’s own lips, the master expressed his disgust,
He said nothing about the money part of it—about how


FIRST RAMBLE, 8]

Hugh was to be paid. He probably thought it best for
the boys to take the consequences of their folly in losing
their money. He handed the little boys over to Mr,
Carnaby to be caned—“ To make them remember,” as he
said; though they themselves were pretty sure they should
never forget. Lamb was kept to be punished by the |
master himself. Though Lamb knew he should be severely
flogged, and though he was the most cowardly boy in the
school, he did not suffer so much as Hugh did in the pro-
spect of being caned—being punished at all. Phil, who
knew his brother's face well, saw, as he passed down the
room, how miserable he was—too miserable to ery; and
Phil pulled him by the sleeve, and whispered that being
caned was nothing to mind—only a stroke or two across
the shoulders. Hugh shook his head, as much as to say,
“Té is not that.”

No—it was not the pain. It was the being punished
in open school, and when he did not feel that he deserved
it. How should he know where Lamb was taking him ?
How should he know that the ginger-beer was to be paid
for, and that he was to pay? Heâ„¢felt himself injured
enough already ; and now to be punished in addition!
He would have died on the spot for liberty to tell Mr.
Tooke and everybody what he thought of the way he
was treated. He had felt his mother hard sometimes;
but what had she exer done to him compared with this?
Tt was well he thought of his mother. At the first
moment, the picture of home in his mind nearly made
him cry—the thing of all others he most wished to
avoid while so many eyes were on him ; but the remem-
brance of what his mother expected of him—her look
when she told him he must not fail, gave him courage,
88 THE CROFTON BOYS.

Hard as it was to be, as he believed, unjustly punished,
it was better than having done anything very wrong—
anything that he really could not have told his mother.

Mr. Carnaby foresaw that a rebuke was in store for him
for his negligence during the walk on Saturday ; and this
anticipation did not sweeten his mood. He kept the
little boys waiting, though Holt was trembling very much,
and still weak from his illness. It occurred to the usher
that another person might be made uncomfortable ; and
he immediately acted on the idea. He had observed how
fond of one another Dale and Hugh had become; and he
thought he would pl&gue Dale a little. He therefore
summoned him, and desired him to go, and bring him a
switch, to cane these boys with.

“T have broken my cane ; so bring me a stout switch,”
said he, “Bring me one out of the orchard ; one that
will lay on well—one that will not break with a good hard
stroke ;—mind what I say—one that will not break.”

“ Yes, sir,” replied Dale, readily ; and he went as if he
was not at all unwilling, Holt shivered. Hugh never
moved. *

It was long, very long, before Dale returned. When
he did, he brought a remarkably stout broomstick.

“This wont break, I think, sir,” said he.

The boys giggled. Mr. Carnaby knuckled Dale’s head
as he asked him if he called that a switch.

“Bring me a switch,” said he. “ One that is not too
stout, or else it will not sting. It must sting, remember,
—sting well. Not too stout, remember.”

“Yes, sir,” said Dale ; and away he went again.

He was now gone yet longer; and by the time he re-
turned everybody’s eyes were fixed on the door, to see



|
.
1
4
FIRST RAMBLE, 89




what sort of a switch would next appear. Dale entered,
bringing a straw.

“JT think this will not be too stout, sir,”

Everybody laughed but Hugh—even Holt.

There was that sneer about Mr. Carnaby’s nose which
made everybody sorry now for Dale: but everybody
started, Mr. Carnaby and all, at Mr. Tooke’s voice, close
at hand. How much he had seen and heard, there was
no knowing; but it was enough to make him look ex-
_ tremely stern.

“ Are these boys not caned yet, Mr. Carnaby?”

“No, sir ;—I have not—I——”

“Have they heen standing here all this while ?”

“Yes,sir. I have no cane, sir. I have been sending

“T ordered them an immediate caning, Mr. Carnaby,
and not mental torture. School is up,” he declared to
the boys at large. “ You may go—you have been punished
enough,” he said to the little boys. “Mr. Carnaby, have
the goodness to remain a moment.”

And the large room was speedily emptied of all but
the master, the usher, and poor Lamb.

“The usher will catch it now,” observed some boys, as
the master himself shut the door behind them. “He
will get well paid for his spite.”

“What will be done to him?” asked Hugh of Dale,
whom he loved fervently for having saved him from
punishment.

“Oh, I don’t know ; and I don’t care—though he was
just going to give my head some sound raps against the
wall, if Mr. Tooke had not come up at the moment.”
“But what will be done to Mr. Carnaby ?”

“ Never mind what ; he wont be here long, they say.

”



~
90 THE CROFTON BOYS,

Fisher says there is another coming ; and Carnaby is here
only till that other is at liberty.”

This was good news, if true: and Hugh ran off, quite
in spirits, to play. He had set himself diligently to
learn to play, and would not be driven off ; and Dale had
insisted on fair scope for him. He played too well to
be objected to any more. They now went to leap-
frog ; and when too hot to keep it up any longer, he and
Dale mounted into the apple-tree to talk, while they were
cooling, and expecting the dinner-bell.

Something happened very wonderful before dinner.
The gardener went dewn to the main road, and seemed
to be looking out. At last he hailed the London coach.
Hugh and Dale could see from their perch. The coach
stopped, the gardener ran back, met Mr. Carnaby under
the chesnuts, relieved him of his portmanteau, and helped
him to mount the coach.

“Ts he going? Gone for good?” passed from mouth to
mouth, all over the play-ground.

“Gone for good,” was the answer of those who knew
to a certainty.

The boys set up first a groan, so loud that perhaps the
departing usher heard it. Then they gave a shout of joy,
in which the little boys joined with all their might—
Hugh waving his cap in the apple-tree.



CHAPTER VII.
WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME.

Hvex got on far better with his lessons as he grew more
intimate with Dale. It was not so much that Dale
helped him with his grammar and construing (for Dale
WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME, 91

thought every boy should make shift to do his own
business) as that he liked to talk about his work, even
with a younger boy; and so, as he said, clear his head.
_ A great deal that he said was above Hugh’s comprehen
sion ; and much of his repetitions mere words : but there
were other matters which fixed Hugh’s attention, an¢
proved to him that study might be interesting out of

_ school. When Dale had a theme to write, the two boys



often walked up and down the play-ground for half an
hour together, talking the subject over, and telling of
anything they had heard or read upon it. Hugh pre-
sently learned the names and the meanings of the diffe-
rent parts of a theme; and he could sometimes help with
an illustration or example, though he left it to his friend
to lay down the Proposition, and search out the Confir-
mation. Dale’s nonsense-verses were perfect nonsense to
Hugh : but his construing was not: and when he went
over it aloud, for the purpose of fixing his lesson in his
ear, as well as his mind, Hugh was sorry when they ar-
rived at the end, and eager to know what came next,—
particularly if they had to stop in the middle of a story of
Ovid’s. Every week, almost every day now, made a great
difference in Hugh’s school-life. He still found his lessons
very hard work, and was often in great fear and pain about
them,—but he continually perceived new light breaking
in upon his mind : his memory served him better ; the little
he had learned came when he wanted it, instead of just a
minute too late. He rose in the morning with less anxiety
about the day: and when playing, could forget school.
There was no usher yet in Mr. Carnaby’s place; and all
the boys said their lessons to Mr. Tooke himself: which
Hugh liked very much, when he had got over the first
92 THE CROFTON BOYS.

fear. A writing-master came from a distance twice
a-week, when the whole school was at writing and arith-
metic all the afternoon : but every other lesson was said
to the master ; and this was likely to go on till Christmas,
as the new usher, of whom, it was said, Mr. Tooke
thought so highly as to choose to wait for him, could not
come before that time. Of course, with so much upon his
hands, Mr. Tooke had not a moment to spare ; and slow
or idle boys were sent back to their desks at the first trip
or hesitation in their lessons. Hugh was afraid, at the
outset, that he should be like poor Lamb, who never got
a whole lesson said during these weeks: and he was
turned down sometimes ; but not often enough to depress
him. He learned to trust more to his ear and _ his
memory : his mind became excited, as in playing a game:
and he found he got through, he scarcely knew how. His
feeling of fatigue afterwards proved to him that this was
harder work than he had ever done at home ; but he did
not feel it so at the time. When he could learn a lesson
in ten minutes, and say it in one; when he began to use
Latin phrases in his private thoughts, and saw the mean-
ing of a rule of syntax, so as to be able to find a fresh
example out of his own head, he felt himself yeally a
Crofton boy, and his heart grew light within him.

The class to which Hugh belonged was one day stand-
ing waiting to be heard, ae the master was giving a
abject and directions for an English theme to Dale’s
class. The subject was the Pleasures of Friendship. In
a moment Hugh thought of Damon and Pythias, and of
David and Jonathan,—of the last of whom there was a
picture in Mrs. Watson’s great Bible. He thought how
happy he ‘had been since he had known Dale, and his




WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME. 93

heart was in such a glow, he was sure he could write a
theme. He ran after Mr. Tooke when school was
over, and asked whether he might write a theme with
Dale’s class. When Mr. Tooke found he knew what
was meant by writing a theme, he said he might try,
if he neglected nothing for it, and wrote every word of it
himself, without consultation with any one.

Hugh scampered away to tell Dale that they must not
talk over this theme together, as they were both to doit ;
and then, instead of playing, he went to his desk, and
_ wrote upon his slate till it was quite full. He had to
_ borrow two slates before he had written all he had to say.
Phil ruled his paper for him; but before he had copied
one page, his neighbours wanted their slates back again,—
said they must have them, and rubbed out all he had
_ written. Much of the little time he had was lost in this
way, and he grew wearied. He thought at first that his

theme would be very beautiful: but he now began to
- doubt whether it would be worth anything at all ; and he

was vexed to have tired himself with doing what would
only make him laughed at. The first page was well
written out,—the Confirmation being properly separated
from the Proposition: but he had to write all the latter
part directly from his head upon the paper, as the slates
were taken away; and he forgot to separate the Conclu-
sion from the Inference.

He borrowed a penknife, and tried to scratch out ha’t
a line; but he only madea hole in the paper, and was
obliged to let the line stand. Then he found he had
strangely forgotten to put in the chief thing of all,—
about friends telling one another of their faults,—though,
on consideration, he was not sure that this was one of
94 THE CROFTON BOYS.

the Pleasures of Friendship : so, perhaps, it did not much
matter. But there were two blots; and he had left out
Jonathan’s name, which had to be interlined. Alto-
gether, it had the appearance of a very bad theme. Firth —
came and looked over his shoulder, as he was gazing at
it ; and Firth offered to write it out for him ; and even
thought it would be fair, as he had had nothing to do
with the composition : but Hugh could not think it would
be fair, and said, sighing, that his must take its chance.
He did not think he could have done a theme so very badly,
Mr. Tooke beckoned him up with Dale’s class, when
they carried up their themes ; and, seeing how red his
face was, the master bade him not be afraid. But how
could he help being afraid? The themes were not read
directly. It was Mr. Tooke’s practice to read them out
of school-hours. On this occasion, judgment was given
the last thing before school broke up the next morning.
Hugh had never been more astonished in his life. Mr,
Tooke praised his theme very much, and said it had sur-
prised him. He did not mind the blots and mistakes, which
would, he said, have beer great faults in a copy-book, but
were of less consequence than other things in a theme.
_ Time and pains would correct slovenliness of that kind ;
. and the thoughts and language were good. Hugh was
almost out of his wits with delight; so nearly so
that he spoiled his own pleasure completely. He could
not keep his happiness to himself, or his vanity: for
Hugh had a good deal of vanity,—more than he was
aware of before this day. He told several boys what Mr.
Tooke had said: but he soon found that would not do.
Some were indifferent, but most laughed at him, Then
he ran to Mrs, Watson’s parlour, and knocked. Nobody




WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME. 95

answered ; for the room was empty : so Hugh sought her
_ in various places, and at last found her in the kitchen,
boiling some preserves. |
“What do you come here for ? This is no place for you,”

_ said she, when the maids tried in vain to put Hugh out.
TJ only want to tell you one thing,” cried Hugh ; and

he repeated exactly what Mr. Tooke had said of his theme.
_ Mrs. Watson laughed, and the maids laughed, and Hugh
left them, angry with them, but more angry with him-
self. They did not care for him,—nobody cared for him,
he said to himself; he longed for his mother’s look or
approbation when he had done well, and Agnes’ pleasure,
and even Susan’s fondness and praise. He sought Dale.
Dale was in the midst of a game, and had not a word or

look to spare till it was over. The boys would have ad-
mitted Hugh ; for he could now play as well as anybody ;
but he was in no mood for play now. He climbed his
_ tree, and sat there, stinging his mind with the thought of
his having carried his boastings into the kitchen, and
with his recollection of Mrs. Watson’s laugh.

Tt often happened that Firth and Hugh met at this
tree ; and it happened now. There was room for both ;
and Firth mounted, and read for some time. At last, he
seemed to be struck by Hugh’s restlessness and heavy
sighs ; and he asked whether he had not got something
to amuse himself with.

“No. I don’t want to amuse myself” said Hugh,
stretching so as almost to throw himself out of the tree.

“Why, what’s the matter? Did not you come off well
with your theme? I heard somebody say you were quite
enough set up about it.”

“Where is the use of doing a thing well, if nobody
96 THE CROFTON BOYS.

cares about it?’ said Hugh. “TI don’t believe anybody
at Crofton cares a bit about me—cares whether I get on
well or ill—-except Dale. If I take pains and succeed,
they only laugh at me.”

“ Ah! you don’t understand school and schoolboys yet,”
replied Firth. “Todo a difficult lesson well is a grand.
affair at home, and the whole house knows of it. But it
is the commorest thing in the world here. If you
learn to feel with these boys, instead of expecting them
to feel with you (which they cannot possibly do), you will
soon find that they care for you accordingly.”

Hugh shook his head.

“You will find in every school in England,” continued
Firth, “that it is not the way of boys to talk about
feelings—about anybody’s feelings. That is the reason
why they do not mention their sisters or their mothers—
except when two confidential friends are together, in a
tree, or by themselves in the meadows. But, as sure as
ever a boy is full of action—if he tops the rest at play—
holds his tongue, or helps others generously—or shows a
manly spirit without being proud of it, the whole school is
his friend. You have done well, so far, by growing more
and more sociable ; but you will lose ground if you boast
about your lessons out of school. To prosper at Crofton, you
must put off home, and make yourself a Crofton boy.

“T don’t care about that,” said Hugh. “TI give it all
up. There is nothing but injustice here.”

“ Nothing but injustice! Pray, am I unjust ?”

“ No—not you—not so far. But——”

“Ts Mr. Tooke unjust ?”

“Yes—very.”

* Pray how, and when %”




WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME, 97

“He has been so unjust to me, that if it had not been
_ for something, I could not have borne it. I am not going
to tell you what that something is: only you need not be
afraid but that I can bear everything. If the whole
world was against me ”

“Well, never mind what that something is; but tell
me how Mr. Tooke is unjust to you.”

“He punished me when I did not deserve it ; and he
praised me when I did not deserve it. I was cheated and
injured that Saturday; and, instead of seeing me righted, -
Mr. Tooke ordered me to be punished. And to-day, when
my theme was so badly done that I made sure of being
blamed, he praised me.”

“This might be injustice at home,” replied Firth, “ be-
cause parents know, or ought to know, all that is in their
- children’s minds, and exactly what their children can do.
A schoolmaster can judge only by what he sees. Mr.
Tooke does not know yet that you could have done your
theme better than you did—as your mother would have
known. When he finds you can do better, he will not
“@ praise such a theme again. Meantime, how you can boast
of his praise, if you think it unjust, is the wonder
to me.”

“So it isto me now. I wish I had never asked to do
that theme at all,” cried Hugh, again stretching himself
to get rid of his shame, “But why did Mr. Tooke order
me to be caned? Why did he not make Lamb and Holt
pay me what they owe? I was injured before; and he
injured me more.”

“You were to be caned because you left the heath and
entered a house, without leave—not because you had been
cheated of your money.”



g
|

98 THE CROFTON BOYS,

“But I did not know where I was going. I never

“meant to enter a house.”

“But you did both ; and what you suffered will pre-
vent your letting yourself be led into such a scrape again.
As for the money part of the matter—a school is to
boys what the world is when they become men. They
must manage their own affairs among themselves. The
difference is, that here is the master to be applied to, if
we choose. He will advise you about your money, if you
choose to ask him: but, for my part, I would rather put
up with the loss, if I were you.”

- “Nobody will ever understand what I mean about
justice,” muttered Hugh.

“ Suppose,” said Firth, “while you are complaining of
injustice in this way, somebody else should be complaining
in the same way of your injustice.”

“ Nobody can—fairly,” replied Hugh.

“Do you see that poor fellow, skulking there under the
orchard-wall ?”

“What, Holt ?”

“Yes, Holt. I fancy the thought in his mind at this
moment is that you are the most unjust person at
Crofton.”

“T! unjust !”

“Yes; so he thinks. When you first came, you and
he were companions. You found comfort in each other
while all the rest were strangers to you. You were glad
to hear, -by the hour together, what he had to tell you
about India, and his voyages and travels. Now he feels
himself lonely and forsaken, while he sees you happy
with a friend. He thinks it hard that you should desert
him because he owes you a shilling, when he was cheated
quite as much as you.”


WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME. ug



“Because he owes me a shilling !” cried Hugh, starting
to his feet, “as if——”

Once more he had nearly fallen from his perch. Firth
caught him ; and then asked him how Holt should think
otherwise than as he did, since Hugh had been his con-
stant companion up to that Saturday afternoon, and had

hardly spoken to him since.

Hugh protested that the shilling had nothing to de
with the matter ; and he never meant to take more that
sixpence from Holt, because he thought Lamb was the

_ one who ought to pay the shilling. The thing was, he

did not, and could not, like Holt half so well as Dale.
He could not make a friend of Holt, because he wanted
spirit—he had no courage. What could he do? He
could not pretend to be intimate with Holt when he did
not like him ; and if he explained that the shilling had
nothing to do with the matter, he could not explain how
it really was, when the fault was in the boy’s character,
and not in his having given any particular offence. What
could he do?

Firth thought he could only learn not to expect, any-
where out of the bounds of home, what he thought jus-
tice. He must, of course, try himself to be just to
everybody; but he must make up his mind in school, as
men have to do in the world, to be misunderstood—to
be wrongly valued ; to be blamed when he felt himself
the injured one ; and praised when he knew he did not
deserve it.

“ But it is so hard,” said Hugh.

And what do people leave home for but to lcarp
hard lessons ?”

“But, still, if it were not for



”



g2
100 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“For what? Do you see any comfort under it?
asked Firth, fixing his eyes on Hugh.

Hugh nodded, without speaking.

“That One understands us who cannot be unjust!”
whispered Firth. “TI am glad you feel that.”

“Even home would be bad enough without that,” said
Hugh. “And what would school be?”

“Or the world ?” added Firth. “ But do not get cross,
and complain again. Leave that to those who have no
comfort.”

Hugh nodded again. Then he got down, and ran to
tell Holt that he did not want a shilling from him, be-
cause he thought sixpence would be fairer.

Holt was glad to hear this at first; but he presently
said that it did not much matter, for that he had no more
chance of being able to pay sixpence than a shilling. His
parents were in India, and his uncle never offered him
any money. He knew indeed that his uncle had none to
spare ; for he had said in the boy’s hearing, that it was
hard on him to have to pay the school-bills (unless he
might pay them in the produce of his farm), so long as it
must be before he could be repaid from India. So Holt
did not dare to ask for pocket-money; and for the hun-
dredth time he sighed over his debt. He had almost left
off hoping that Hugh would excuse him altogether,
shough everybody knew that Hugh had five shillings in
Mrs. Watson’s hands. This fact, and Hugh’s frequent
applications to Lamb for payment, had caused an impres-
sion that Hugh was fond of money. It was not so; and
yet the charge was not unfair. Hugh was ready to give
if properly asked ; but he did not relish, and could not
bear with temper, the injustice of such a forced borrow-




WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME 101

ing as had stripped him of his half-crown. He wanted
his five shillings for presents for his family ; and for these
reasons, and not because he was miserly, he did not offer
to excuse Holt’s debt ; which it would have been more
generous to have done. Nobody could wish that he should
excuse Lamb’s.

“When are you going to your uncle's?” asked Holt.
“T suppose you are going some day before Christmas.”

“On Saturday, to stay till Sunday night,” said Hugh.

“ And Proctor goes too, I suppose ?”

“Yes; of course, Phil goes too.”

“ Anybody else ?”

“We are each to take one friend, just for Saturday, to
come home at night.”

“Oh? then, you will take me. You said you would.”

“Did I? That must have been a long time ago.”

“But you did say so,—that, whenever you went, you
would ask leave to take me.”

“T don’t remember any such thing. And I am going
to take Dale this time. I have promised him.”

Holt cried with vexation. Dale was always in his way.
Hugh cared for nobody but Dale ; but Dale should not go
to Mr. Shaw’s till he had had his turn. He had been
promised first, and he would go first. He would speak
to Mrs. Watson, and get leave to go and tell Mr. Shaw,
and then he was sure Mr. Shaw would let him go.

Hugh was very uncomfortable. He really couid not
remember having made this promise: but he could not be
sure that he had not. He asked Holt if he thought he
should like to be in peopie’s way, to spoil the holiday by
going where he was not wished for; but this sort of re-
monstrance did not comfort Holt at all, Hugh offered
102 THE CROFTON BOYS.

that he should have the very next turn, if he would give
up now.

“T dare say! And when will that be? You know
en Sunday it will want only nineteen days to the holi-
days ; and you will not be going to your uncle’s again
this half-year. A pretty way of putting me off!”

Then, as ifa sudden thought had struck him, he cried,

“ But Proctor has to take somebody.”

“Yes; Phil takes Tooke. They settled that a week
ago.”

“Oh! can’t you ask him to take me?”

“No; I shall not meddle with Phil. Besides, I am
glad he has chosen Tooke. Tooke behaved well to me
about the sponge, thatday. Tooke has some spirit.”

This put Holt in mind of the worst of his adventures
since he came to Crofton, and of all the miseries of being
shunned as a tell-tale. He cried so bitterly as to touch
Hugh’s heart. As if thinking aloud, Hugh told him that
heseemed very forlorn, and that he wished he would find
a friend to be intimate with. This would make him so
much happier as he had no idea of; as he himself had
found since he had had Dale for a friend.

This naturally brought out a torrent of reproaches,
which was followed by a hot argument; Holt insisting
that Hugh ought to have been his intimate friend ; and
Hugh asking how he could make a friend of a boy who
wanted spirit. They broke away from one another at
last, Hugh declaring Holt to be unreasonable and selfish,
and Holt thinking Hugh cruel and insulting.

Of course Mrs. Watson would not hear of Holt’s going
io Mr, Shaw, to ask for an invitation for Saturday. He
was told he must wait till another time. It was no

ln eal


A LONG DAY. 103

great consolation to Holt that on Sunday it would want
only nineteen days to the holidays: for he was to remain
at Crofton. He hoped to like the holidays better than
school-days, and to be petted by Mrs. Watson, and to sit
by the fire, instead of being forced into the playground in
all weathers: but still he could not look forward to
Christmas with the glee which other boys felt,



CHAPTER VIII.
A LONG DAY.

Hueéu, meantime, was counting the hours till Saturday.
Perhaps, if the truth were known, so was Phil, though
he was too old to acknowledge such a longing. But the
climbing about the mill,—the play encouraged there by
his uncle and the men,—his uncle’s stories within doors,
his aunt’s good dinners,—the fire-side, the picture-books,
the talk of home, altogether made up the greatest treat
of the half-year. Phil had plenty of ways of passing the
time. Hugh began a-long letter home,—the very last
letter, except the short formal one which’should declare
when the Christmas vacation should commence. Hugh
meant to write half the letter before Saturday, and then
fill it up with an account of his visit to his uncle’s,

The days were passed, however, when Hugh had the
command of his leisure time, as on his arrival, when his
hours were apt to hang heavy. He had long since be
come too valuable in the playground to be left to follow
his own devices. As the youngest boy, he was looked
upon as a sort of servant to the rest, when once it was
104 THE CROFTON BOYS.

found that he was quick and clever. Hither as scout,
messenger, or in some such capacity, he was continually
wanted ; and often at times inconvenient to himself. He
then usually remembered what Mr. Tooke had told him
of his boy, when Tooke was the youngest,—how he bore
things—not only being put on the high wall, but being
well worked in the service of the older boys. Usually
Hugh was obliging, but he could and did feel cross at
times. He was cross on this Friday,—the day when he
was so anxious to write his letter before going to his
uncle’s, On Saturday there would be no time. The
early mornings were dark now; and after school he
should have to wash and dress, and be off to his uncle’s.
On Friday then, his paper was ruled, and he had only to
run across the playground to borrow Firth’s penknife, and
then nothing should delay his letter.

In that run across the playground.he was stopped. He
was wanted to collect clean snow for the boys who were
bent on finishing their snow-man while it would bind.
He should be let off when he had brought snow enough.
But he knew that by that time his fingers would be too
stiff to hold his pen ; and he said he did not choose to
stopnow. Upon this Lamb launched a snow-ball in his
face. Hugh grew angry,—or, as his schoolfellows said,
insolent. Some stood between him and the house, to pre-
vent his getting home, while others promised to roll him
in the snow till he yielded full submission. Instead of
yielding, Hugh made for the orchard wall, scrambled up
it, and stood for the moment out of the reach of his
enemies. He kicked down such a quantity of snow upon
any one who came near, that he held all at bay for some
little time. At last, however, he had disposed of all the



1
j
‘
. A LONG DAY. 105

_ snow within his reach, and they were pelting him thickly
with snow-balls. It was not at any time very easy to
stand upright, for long together, upon this wall, as the
stones which capped it were rounded. Now, when the
coping-stones were slippery after the frost, and Hugh
_ nearly blinded with the shower of snow-balls, he could
not keep his footing, and was obliged to sit astride upon
_ the wall. This brought one foot within reach from be-
low; and though Hugh kicked, and drew up his foot as

far and as often as he could, so as not to lose his balance,



_ it was snatched at by many hands. At last, one hand
kept its hold, and plenty more then fastened upon his leg.
They pulled: he clung. In another moment, down he
came, and the large heavy coping-stone, loosened by
the frost, came after him, and fell upon his left foot as
he lay.

It was a dreadful shriek that he gave. Mrs. Watson
heard it in her store-room, and Mr. Tooke in his study.
Some labourers felling a tree in a wood, a quarter of a
maile off, heard it, and came running to see what could be
the matter. The whole school was in a cluster round
the poor boy in a few seconds. During this time, while
several were engaged in lifting away the stone, Tooke
stooped over him, and said, with his lips as white as
paper,

“Who was it that pulled you,—that got the first hold
of you? WasitI? O! say it was not I.”

“Tt was you,” said Hugh. “But never mind! You
did not mean it.”—He saw that Tooke’s pain was worse
_ than his own, and he added, in a faint whisper,

“Don’t you tell, and then nobody will know. Mind
you don’t !”
106 THE CROFTON BOYS.

One boy after another turned away from the sight of
his foot, when the stone was removed. Tooke fainted,
but, then, so did another boy who had nothing to do with
the matter. Everybody who came up asked who did it;
and nobody could answer. Tooke did not hear; and so
many felt themselves concerned, that no one wished °
that any answer should be given.
“Who did it, my dear boy?” asked Firth, bending over —
nim.

“ Never mind!” was all Hugh could say. He groaned
in terrible pain.

He must not lie there; but who could touch him?
Firth‘did ; and he was the right person, as he was one of
the strongest. He made two boys pass their handker-
chiefs under the leg, and sling it, without touching it;
and he lifted Hugh, and carried him across his arms to-
wards the house. They met Mr. Tooke, and.every person
belonging to the household, before they reached the
door.

“To my bed!” said the master, when he saw : and in an
instant the gardener had his orders to saddle Mr. Tooke’s
horse, and ride to London for an eminent surgeon: stop-
ping by the way to beg Mr. and Mrs. Shaw to come, and
bring with them the surgeon who was their neighbour,
Mr. Annanby.

“Who did it? “Who pulled him down?’ passed
from mouth to mouth of the household.

“He wont tell,—noble fellow,” cried Firth. “ Don’t
ask him. Never ask him who pulled him down.”

“You will never repent it, my dear boy,” whispered
Firth.

‘Hugh tried to smile, but he could not help groaning




A LONG DAY. 107

again. There was a suppressed groan from some one else.
_ It was from Mr. Tooke. Hugh was sadly afraid he had,
_ by some means, found out who did the mischief. But it
_ wasnotso, Mr. Tooke was quite wretched enough with-
out that.

Everybody was very kind, and did the best that could
_bedone. Hugh was held up on the side of Mr. Tooke’s
bed, while Mrs. Watson took off his clothes, cutting
_ the left side of his trousers to pieces, without any
hesitation. The master held the leg firmly while the
undressing went on; and then poor Hugh was laid
_ back, and covered up warm, while the foot was placed
on a pillow, with only a light handkerchief thrown
over it.

It was terrible to witness his pain; but Mr. Tooke
never left him all day. He chafed his hands, he gave
him drink; he told him he had no doubt his mother
_ would arrive soon; he encouraged him to say or do
anything that he thought would give him ease.

“Cry, my dear,” he said, “if you want to cry. Do
_ not hide tears from me.”

“T can’t help crying,” sobbed Hugh: “but it is not
the pain,—not only the pain; it is because you are s)
_ kind!” .

“Where ts Phil?” he said at last.

“ He is so very unhappy, that we think he had better
not see you till this pain is over, When you are asleep,
_ perhaps.”

_ “Oh! when will that be?’ and poor Hugh rolled his
head on the pillow.

“George rides fast; he is far on his way by this ,
time,” said Mr. Tooke, ‘And one or other of the sur-
108 THE CROFTON BOYS.

geons will soon be here; and they will tell,us what t —
do, and what to expect.”

“Do tell Phil so,—will you ?”

Mr. Tooke rang the bell ; and the message was sent to
Phil, with Hugh’s love.

“Will the surgeon hurt me much, do you think?
Hugh asked. “I will bear it. I only want to know.”

“T should think you hardly could be in more pain —
than you are now,” replied Mr. Tooke. “I trust they
will relieve you of this pain. I should not wonder if
you are asleep to-night as quietly as any of us; and
then you will not mind what they may pe done —
to you.”

Hugh thought he should mind nothing, if he could
ever be asleep again.

He was soon asked if he would like to see his uncle
and aunt, who were come. He wished to see his uncle;
and Mr. Shaw came up, with the surgeon. Mr. Annanby
did scarcely anything to the foot at present. He soon
covered it up again, and said he would return in time
to meet the surgeon who was expected from London, —
Then Hugh and his uncle were alone.

Mr. Shaw told him how sorry the boys all were, and
how they had come in from the playground at once, and
put themselves under Firth, to be kept quiet; and that
very little dinner had been eaten ; and that, when the
writing-master arrived, he was quite astonished to find
everything so still, and the boys so spiritless: but that —
nobody told him till he observed how two or three
were crying, so that he was sure something was the
matter.

“Which? Who? Who is crying?” asked Hugh,



——


A LONG DAY. 169

“Poor Phil, and I do not know who else,—not being

acquainted with the rest.”

“How glad I am that Dale had nothing to do with

it! said Hugh. “He was quite on the other side of
_ the playground.”

“They tell me below that I must not ask you how it

_ happened.”

_ “Oh yes! youmay. Everything except just who it was
that pulled me down. So many got hold of me that
_ nobody knows exactly who gave the pull, except myself

and one other. He did not mean it; and I was cross

_ about playing with them ; and the stone on the wall was

loose, or it would not have happened. O dear! O dear!

- Uncle, do you res it a bad accident ?”

“Yes, my boy, a very bad accident.”
“Do you think I shall die? I never thought of that,”

said Hugh. And he raised himself a little, but was

obliged to lie back again.

“No; I do not think you will die.”

“Will they think so at home? Was that the reason
they were sent to?”

“No: I have no doubt your mother will come to
nurse you, and to comfort you: but %

“To comfort me? Why, Mr. Tooke said the pain



_ would soon be over, he thought, and I should be asleep
~ to-night.”

“Yes ; but, though the pain may be over, it may leave
youlame. That will bea misfortune ; and you will be glad
of your mother to comfort you.”

“Lame !” said the boy. Then, as he looked wistfully
in his uncle’s face, he saw the truth.

“Oh! uncle, they are going to cut off my leg.”
110 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Not your leg, I hope, Hugh. You will not be
quite so lame as that: but I am afraid you must lose
your foot.”

“Was that what Mr. Tooke meant by the surgeon’s
relieving me of my pain?”

“Yes; it was.”

“Then it will be before night. Is it quite certain,
uncle ?”

“Mr. Annanby thinks so. Your foot is too much hurt
ever to be cured. Do you think you can bear it,
Hugh?”

“Why, yes, I suppose so. So many people have. It
is less than some of the savages bear. What horrid
things they do to their captives,—and even to some of
their own boys! And they bear it.”

“Yes; but you are.not a savage.

“But one may beas brave, without being a savage.
Think of the martyrs that were burnt, and some that
were worse than burnt! And they bore it.”

Mr. Shaw perceived that Hugh was either in much
less pain now, or that he forgot everything in a subject
which always interested him extremely. He told his uncle
what he had read of the tortures inflicted by savages,
till his uncle, already a good deal agitated, was quite
sick: but he let him go on, hoping that the boy might
think lightly in comparison of what he himself had to
undergo. This could not last long, however. The
wringing pain soon came back; and as Hugh cried, he
said he bore it so very badly, he did not know what his
mother would say if she saw him. She had trusted him
not to fail; but really he could not bear this much
longer.


A LONG DAY. lll

His uncle toid him that nobody had thought of his
having such pain as this to bear: that he had often
shown himself a brave little fellow; and he did not
doubt that, when this terrible day was over, he would
keep up his spirits through all the rest.

Hugh would have his uncle go down to tea. Then he
saw a gown and shawl through the curtain, and started
up; but it was not his mother yet. It was only Mrs.
Watson come to sit with him while his uncle had his tea.

Tea was over, and the younger boys had ali gone up
to bed, and the older ones were just going, when there
was a ring at the gate. It was Mrs. Proctor; and with
her the surgeon from London.

“Mother! Never mind, mother!” Hugh was be-
ginning to say; but he stopped when he saw her face,—
it was so very pale and grave. At least, he thought so ;
but he saw her only by fire-light ; for the candle had
been shaded from his eyes, because he could not bear it.
She kissed him with a long, long kiss; but she did not
speak.

“T wish the surgeon had come first,” he whispered,
“and then they would have had my foot off before you
came. When will he come?”

“ He is here,—they are both here.”

“Oh, then, do make them make haste. Mr. Tooke
says I shall go to sleep afterwards. You think so? Then
we will both go to sleep, and have our talk in the morn-
ing. Do not stay now,—this pain is so bad,—I can’t
bear it well at all. Do go, now, and bid them make
haste, will you ?”

His mother whispered that she heard he had been a
brave boy, and she knew he would be so still. Then the
112 THE CROFTON BOYS.

surgeons came up, and Mr. Shaw. There was some bustle
in the room, and Mr. Shaw took his sister down stairs,
and came up again, with Mr. Tooke.

“Don’t let mother come,” said Hugh.

“No, my boy, I will stay with you,” said his uncle.

The surgeons took off his foot. As he sat in a chair, and
his uncle stood behind him, and held his hands, and pressed
his head against him, Hugh felt how his uncle’s breast was
heaving,—and was sure he was crying. In the very middle
of it all, Hugh looked up in his uncle’s face, and said,

“Never mind, uncle! I can bear it.”

He did bear it finely. It was far more terrible than
he had fancied ; and he felt that he could not have gone
on a minute longer. When it was over, he muttered
something, and Mr. Tooke bent down to hear what it was.
Tt was—

“T-can’t think how the Red Indians bear things go.”

His uncle lifted him gently into bed, and told him
that he would soon feel easy now.

“Have you told mother?” asked Hugh.

“Yes ; we sent to her directly.”

“ How long did it take?” asked Hugh.

“You have been out of bed only a few minutes—
seven or eight, perhaps.”

“Oh, uncle, you don’t mean really ?”

“Really: but we know they seemed like hours to
you. Now, your mother will bring you some tea. When
you have had that, you will go to sleep: so I shall
wish you good night now.” ;

“When will you come again ?”

“Very often, till you come tome, Not a word more
now. Good-night,”


A LONG DAY. eo:

Hugh was half asleep when his tea came up, and
quite so directly after he had drunk it. Though he
slept a great deal in the course of the night, he woke
often,—such odd feelings disturbed him! Every time
he opened his eyes, he saw his mother sitting by the
fire-side ; and every time he moved in the least, she
came softly to look. She would not let him talk at
all till near morning, when she found that he could
not sleep any more, and that he seemed a little con-
fused about where he was,—what room it was, and
how she came to be there by fire-light. Then she
lighted a candle, and allowed him to talk about his
friend Dale, and several school affairs; and this
brought back gradually the recollection of all that had
happened.

“T don’t know what I have been about, I declare,”
said he, half laughing. But he was soon as serious as
ever he was in his life, as he said, “ But oh! mother, tell
me,—do tell me if I have let out who pulled me off the
wall.”

“You have not,-you have not indeed,” replied she.
“T shall never ask. Ido rot wish to know. I am glad
you have not told; for it would do no good. It was alto-
gether an accident.”

“So it was,’ said Hugh; “and it would make the boy
so unhappy to be pointed at! Do promise me, if I
should let it out in my sleep, that you will never, never
tell anybody.”

“I promise you. And I shall be the only person
beside you while you are asleep, till you get well. So
you need not be afraid.—Now, lie still again.”

She put out the light, and he did lie still for some

h
114 THE CROFTON BOYS.

time ; but then he was struck with a sudden thought
which made him cry out.

“O, mother, if I am so lame, I can never be a soldier
or a sailor.—I can never go round the world !”

And Hugh burst into tears, now more really afflicted
than he had been yet. His mother sat on the bed beside
him, and wiped away his tears as they flowed, while he
told her, as well as his sobs would let him, how long and
how much he had reckoned on going round the world, .
and how little he cared for anything else in the future ;
and now this was just the very thing he should never be
able to do! He had practised climbing ever since he
could remember ;—and now that was of no use;—he had
practised marching, and now he should never march
again. When he had finished his complaint, there was a
pause, and his mother said,

“Hugh, do you remember Richard Grant?”

“ What,—the cabinet-maker? The man who carved
so beautifully ?”

“Yes. Do you remember. No, you could hardly
have known: but I will tell you. He had planned a
most beautiful set of carvings in wood for a chapel
belonging to a nobleman’s mansion. He was to be well
paid,—his work was so superior; and he would be able
to make his parents comfortable, as well as his wife and
children. But the thing he most cared for was the
honour of producing a noble work which would outlive
him. Well, at the very beginning of his task, his chisel
flew up against his wrist: and the narrow cut that it
mnade,—not more than half an inch wide,—made his right
hand entirely useless for life. He could never again hold
a tool ;—his work was gone,—his business in life seemed


A LONG DAY, 115

over,—the support of the whole family was taken away,—
and the only strong wish Richard Grant had in the world
was disappointed.”

Hugh hid his face with his handkerchief, and his
mother went on:

“ You have heard of Huber.”

' “The man who found out so much about bees. Miss
Harold read that account to us.”

“Bees and ants. When Huber had discovered more
than had ever been known before about bees and ants,
and when he was sure he could learn more still, and was
tnore and more anxious to peep and pry into their tiny
homes, and their curious ways, Huber became blind.”

Hugh sighed, and his mother went on :

“Did you ever hear of Beethoven? He was one of the
greatest musical composers that ever lived. His great,
his sole delight was in music. It was the passion of his
life. When all his time and al] his mind were given to-
music, he became deaf—perfectly deaf; so that he never
more heard one single note from the loudest orchestra.
While crowds were moved and delighted with his compo-
sitions, it was all silence to him.”

Hugh said nothing.

“Now, do you think,” asked his mother,—and Hugh
saw by the grey light that began to shine in, that she
smiled—“ do you think that these people were without 2
heavenly Parent ?”

“Ono! But were they all patient ?”

“ Yes, in their different ways and degrees. Would you
say that they were hardly treated? Or would you rather
suppose that their Father gave them something more and
better to do than they had planned for themselves ?”

h2
116 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Te must know best, of course: but it does seem hard
that that very thing shovld happen to them. Huber
would not have so much minded being deaf, perhaps ; or
that musical man being blind; or Richard Grant losing
his foot, instead of his hand: for he did not want to go
round the world.”

“No doubt their hearts often swelled within them at
their disappointments: but I fully believe that they
found very soon that God’s will was wiser than their
wishes. They found, if they bore their trial well, that
there was work for their hearts to do, far nobler than any
work that the head can do through the eye, and the ear,
and the hand. And they soon felt a new and delicious
pleasure, which none but the bitterly disappointed can
feel.”

“What is that ?”

“The pleasure of rousing their souls to bear pain, and
of agreeing with God silently, when nobody knows what
is in their hearts. There is a great pleasure in the exer-
cise of the body,—in making the heart beat, and the
limbs glow, in a run by the sea-side, or a game in
the play-ground; but this is nothing to the pleasure
there is in exercising one’s soul in bearing pain,—
in finding one’s heart glow with the hope that one is
pleasing God.”

“ Shall I feel that pleasure ?”

“Often and often, I have no doubt,—every time
that you can willingly give up your wish to be a
soldier or a sailor,—or anything else that you have
set your mind upon, if you can smile to yourself, and
say that you will be content at home.—Well, I don’t
expect it of you yet. Idare say it was long a bitter


CROFTON QUIET. 117

thing to Beethoven to see hundreds of people in rap-
tures with his music, when he could not hear a note
of it. And Huber——”

“ But did Beethoven get to smile ?”

“Tf he did, he was happier than all tho fine music in
the world could have made him.”

“T wonder—O ! I wonder if I ever shall feel so.”

“We will pray to God that you may. Shall we ask
him now ?”

Hugh clasped his hands. His mother kneeled beside
the bed, and, in a very few words, prayed that Hugh
might be able to bear his misfortune well, and that his
friends might give him such help and comfort as God
should approve.

“Now, my dear, you will sleep again,” she said, as she
arose.

“Tf you will lie down too, instead of sitting by the fire.
Do, mother.”

She did so ; and they were soon both asleep.



CHAPTER IX.
CROFTON QUIET.

Tne boys were all in the school-room in the grey of the
morning ;—no one late. Mr. Tooke was already there.
Almost every boy looked wistfully in the grave face of
the master ;—almost every one but his own son. He
looked down ; and it seemed natural: for his eyes were
swollen with crying. He had been crying as much as
Proctor: but, then, so had Dale,
118 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Your schoolfellow is doing well,” said Mr. Tooke, in
low voice, which, however, was heard to the farthest
end of the room. “ His brother will tell you that he
saw him quietly asleep ; and I have just seen him so, He
‘deserves to do well; for he isa brave little boy. He is
the youngest of you ; but I doubt whether there is a more
manly heart among you all.”

There was a murmur, as if everybody wished to agree
to this, That murmur set Phil crying again.

“As to how this accident happened,” continued the
master, “I have only to say this. The coping-stone of
the wall was loose—had become loosened by the frost.
Of that I am aware. But it would not,—it could not
have fallen, if your schoolfellow had not been pulled from
the top of the wall, Several hands pulled him,—as many
as could get a hold. Whose these hands were, it would be
easy to ascertain ; and it would not be difficult to dis-
cover whose was the hand which first laid hold, and gave
the rest their grasp. But—” How earnestly here did
every one look for the next words !—*“ But your school-
fellow considers the affair an accident,—says he himself
‘was cross.”

“No! No! We plagued him,” cried many voices.

“ Well! he is sure no one meant him any harm, and
earnestly desires that no further inquiry may be made.
For his part, nothing, he declares, shall ever induce him
to tell who first seized him.”

The boys were about to give a loud cheer, but stopped
for Hugh’s sake, just in time. There was no want of
signs of what they felt. There was no noise; but there
were many tears.

“I do not think that a promise of impunity can be any





i

2
CROFTON QUIET. 11S

great comfort to those concerned,” continued Mr. Tooke :
“but such comfort as they can find in it, they may. Both
from my wish to indulge one who has just sustained so
great a misfortune, and because I think he is right, I
shall never inquire,—never wish to know more than I do
of the origin of this accident. His mother declares: the
same, on the part of both of his parents. I hope you will
every one feel yourselves put upon honour, to follow my
example.”

Another general murmur, in sign of agreement.

“The only thing you can now do for your school-
fellow,” concluded the master, “is to be quiet throughout
the day. As soon as he can be removed, he will be
carried to Mr. Shaw’s. Till then, you will take care
that he loses no rest through youu—Now, first class,
come up.”

While this class was up, Phil’s neighbour began whisper-
ing; and the next boy leaned over to hear; and one or
two came softly up behind: but, though they were busily
engaged in question and answer, the master’s stern voice
was not heard (as usual when there was talking) to say
“Silence there!” His class saw him looking that way,
once or twice; but he took no notice. Phil had seen
his brother, and was privileged to tell.

“So you saw him! Did you get a real good sight
of him ?”

“Yes. I stayed some time ; half-an-hour, I dare say.”

“What did he look like? Did he say anything?”

“Say anything !” cried Dale: “why, did you not hear
he was asleep ?”

“ What did he look like, then ?”

“He looked as he always does when he is asleep, as
120 THE CROFTON BOYS.

far as I could see. But we did not bring the light too
near, for fear of waking him.”

“Did you hear—did anybody tell you anything about
it?

“Yes: my mother told me whatever I wanted to
know.”

“What? What did she tell you?”

“She says it will not be so very bad a lameness as it
might have been—as if he had not had his knee left.
That makes a great difference. They make a false foot
now, very light ; and if his leg gets quite properly well,
and we are not too much in a hurry, and we all take
pains to help Hugh to practise walking carefully at first,
he may not be very lame.”

“Oh! then, it is not so bad,” said one, while Tooke,
who was listening, gave a deep sigh of relief.

“Not so bad !” exclaimed Phil. “Why, he will never
be so strong—so abie and active as other men. He will
never be able to take care of himself and other people.
He will be so unlike other people always; and now, while
he is @ boy, he will never-———”

The images of poor Hugh’s privations and troubles as
a schoolboy were too much for Phil; and he laid down
his head on his desk, to hide his grief. As for Tooke, he
walked away, looking the picture of wretchedness.

“When will you see him again ?” asked Dale, passing
his arm round Phil’s neck.

“To-day, if he is pretty well, My mother promised
me that.”

“Do you think you could get leave for metoo? I
would not make any noise, nor let him tall too much, if
I might just see him.”
CROFTON QUIET. 121

“Tl see about it,” said Phil.

As Mrs. Proctor was placing the pillows comfortably,
for Hugh to have his breakfast, after he was washed, and
the bed made nicely smooth, he yawned, and said he was
sleepy still, and that he wondered what o'clock it was.
His mother told him it was a quarter past ten.

“A quarter past ten! Why, howodd! The boys are
half through school, almost, and I am only just awake !”

“They slept through the whole night, I dare say. You
were awake a good many times ; and you and I had some
talk. Do you remember that ? or has it gone out of your
head with your sound sleep ?”

“No, no: I remember that,” said Hugh. “But it was
the oddest, longest night !—and yesterday too! To think
that it is not a whole day yet since it all happened! Oh!
here comes my breakfast. What is it? Coffee !”

“Yes: we know you are fond of coffee ; and so am
I. So we will have some together.”

“How comfortable !” exclaimed Hugli; for he was
really hungry ; which was no wonder, after the pain and
exhaustion he had gone through. His state was like
that of a person recovering from an illness—extremely
ready to eat and drink, but obliged to be moderate.

When warmed and cheered by his coffee, Hugh gave a
broad hint that he should like to see Phil, and one or two
more boys—particularly Dale. His mother told him that
the surgeon, Mr. Annanby, would be coming soon. If
he gave leave, Phil should come in, and perhaps Dale.
So Hugh was prepared with a strong entreaty to Mr.
Annanby on the subject; but no entreaty was needed.
My. Annanby thought he was doing very well ; and that
he would not be the worse for a little amusement and a
122 THE CROFTON BOYS.

little fatigue this morning, if it did not go on too long.
So Phil was sent for, when the surgeon was gone. As
he entered, his mother went out to speak to Mr. Tooke,
and write home.

She then heard from Mr. Tooke and from Firth ca
Dale, how strong was the feeling in Hugh’s favour—how
strong the sympathy for his misfortune throughout the
school. Hugh had seen no tears from her ; but she shed
them now. She then earnestly entreated that Hugh
might not hear what she had just been told. He-felt no
doubt of the kindness of his schoolfellows, and was there-
fore quite happy on that score. He was very young, and
to a certain degree vain; and if this event went to
strengthen his vanity, to fill his head with selfish thoughts,
it would be a misfortune indeed. The loss of his foot
would be the least part of it. It lay with those about
him to make this event a deep injury to him, instead of
the blessing which all trials are meant by Providence
eventually to be. They all promised that, while treating
Hugh with the tenderness he deserved, they would not
spoil the temper in which he had acted so well, by making
it vain and selfish, There was no fear meantime of
Phil’s doing him any harm in that way; for Phil had a
great idea of the privileges and dignity of seniority ; and
his plan was to keep down little boys, and make them
humble ; not being aware that to keep people down is not
the way to make them humble, but the contrary. Older
people than Phil, however, often fall into this mistake.
Many parents do, and many teachers ; and very many
elder brothers and sisters. {

Phil entered the room shyly, and stood by the fire, so
that the bed-curtain was between him and Hugh,



ten te
CROFTON QUIET. 123

* Are you there, Phil?’ cried Hugh, pulling aside the
curtain.

“Yes,” said Phil ; “how do you do this morning ?”

“Oh, very well. Come here. I want to know ever so
many things. Have you heard yet anything real and
true about the new usher 2?”

“No,” replied Phil. “But I have no doubt it is really
Mr. Crabbe who is coming; and that he will be here
after Christmas. Why, Hugh, you look just the same as
usual !”

“So I am, just the same, except under this thing,”
pointing to the hoop, or basket, which was placed over
his limb, to keep off the weight of the bed-clothes. “I
am not hurt anywhere else, except this bruise ;’ and he
showed a black bruise on his arm, such as almost any
school-boy can show, almost any day.

“ That’s nothing,” pronounced Phil.

“The other was, though, I can tell you,” declared Hugh.

“Was it very, very bad? Worse than you had ever
fancied ?”

“Oh! yes. I could have screamed myself to death.
I did not, though. Did you hear me, did anybody hear
me call out ?”

“T heard you—just outside the door there—before the
doctors came.”

“Ah! but not after, not while uncle was here. He
cried so! I could not call out while he was crying so.
Where were you when they were doing it?”

“Just outside the door there. I heard you once~=
only once ; and that was not much.”

“But how came you to be there? It was past bed:
time. Had you leave to be up so late }”
124 THE CROFTON BOYS

“T did not ask it; and nobody meddled with me.”

“ Was anybody there with you?”

“Yes, Firth. Dale would not. He was afraid, and
he kept away.”

“Oh! is not he very sorry?”

“Of course. Nobody can help being sorry.”

“Do they all seem sorry? What did they do? What
do they say ?”

“Oh! they are very sorry ; you must know that.”

“ Anybody more than the rest ?”

“Why, some few of them cried ; but I don’t know
that that shows them to be more sorry. It is some
people’s way to cry—and others not.”

Hugh wished much to learn something about Tooke ;
but, afraid of showing what was in his thoughts, he went
off to quite another subject.

“Do you know, Phil,” said he, “you would hardly
believe it ; but I have never been half so miserable as I
was the first day or two I came here? I don’t care now,
half so much, for all the pain, and for being lame, and
Oh ! but I can never be a soldier or a sailor—I can
never go round the world! I forgot that.”

And poor Hugh hid his face in his pillow.

“Never mind!” said Phil, stooping over him very
kindly. “ Here is a long time before you; and you will
get to like something else just as well. Papa wanted to
be a soldier, you remember, and could not ; and he is as
happy as ever he can be, now that he is a shopkeeper in
London. Did you ever see anybody merrier than my
father is? I never did. Come! cheer up, Hugh! You
will be very happy somehow.”

Phil kissed him ; and when Hugh Jooked up in sur-
prise, Phil’s eyes were full of tears.


CROFTON QUIET. 125

* Now I have a good mind to ask you,” said Hugh,
“something that has been in my mind ever since.”

“ Ever since when ?”

“Ever since I came to Crofton. What could be the
reason that you were not more kind to me then?”

“T! not kind? said Phil, in some confusion. “ Was
not I kind ?”

“No. At least I thought not. I was so uncom-
fortable,—I did not know anybody, or what to do; and
I expected you would show me, and help me. I always
thought I could not have felt lonely with you here; and
then when I came, you got out of my way, as if you were
ashamed of me, and you did not help me at all ; and you
laughed at me.”

“No ; I don’t think I did that.”

“Yes, you did, indeed.”

“Well, you know, little boys always have to shift for
themselves when they go to a great school ”

“ But why, if they have brothers there? That is the
very thing I- want to know. I think itis very cruel.”

“T never meant to be cruel, of course. But—but—
the boys weve all ready to laugh at me about a little
brother that was scarcely any better than a girl :—and
consider how you talked on the coach, and what ridicu-
lous hair you had,—and what a fuss you made about
your money and your pocket,—and how you kept
popping out things about Miss Harold, and the girls, and
Susan.”

“ You were ashamed of me, then.”

“Well, what wonder if I was?”

“And you never told me about all these things.
You let me learn them all without any warning, or any
help.”


126 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“To be sure. That is the way all boys have to get
on. They must make their own way.”

“Tf ever little Harry comes to Crofton,” said Hugh,
more to himself than to Phil, “I will not leave him in
the lurch,—I will never be ashamed of him. “Pray,”
said he, turning quickly to Phil, “are you ashamed of
me still ?”

“Oh, no,” protested Phil. “ You can shift for your-
self,—you can play, and do everything like other boys,
now. You ”

He stopped short, overcome with the sudden recollec-
tion that Hugh would never again be able to play like
other boys,—to be like them in strength, and in shifting
for himself.

“ Ah! Isee what you are thinking of,” said Hugh.
“T am so afraid you should be ashamed of me again,
when I come into the playground. The boys will quiz
me ;—and if you are ashamed of me ”

“Oh, no, no!” earnestly declared Phil. “There is
nobody in the world that will quiz you ;—or, if there is,
they had better take care of me, I can tell them. But
nobody will. You don’t know how sorry the boys are.
Here comes Dale. He will tell you the same thing.”

Dale was quite sure that any boy would, from this
time for ever, be sent to Coventry who should quiz Hugh
for his lameness. There was not a boy now at Crofton
who would not do anything in the world to help him.

“Why, Dale, how you have been crying!” exclaimed
Hugh. “Is anything wrong in school? Can’t you
manage your verses yet ?”

“Tl try that to-night,” said Dale, cheerfully. “ Yes
Til manage them. Never mind what made my eyes




CROFTON QUIET. 127

red ; only, if such a thing had happened to me, you
would have cried,—I am sure of that.”

“ Yes, indeed,” said Phil.

_ © Now, Proctor, you had better go,” said Dale. “One
at a time is enough to-day ; and I shall not stay long.”

Phil agreed, and actually shook hands with Hugh
before he went.

“Phil is so kind to-day!” cried Hugh, with glee ;
“though he is disappointed of going to uncle Shaw’s on
my account. And I know he had reckoned on it. Now,
I want to know one thing,—where did Mr. Tooke sleep
last night ? for this is his bed.”

Dale believed he slept on the sofa. He was sure, at
least, that he had not taken off his clothes; for he had
come to the door several times in the course of the night,
to know how all was going on.

“Why, I never knew that!” cried Hugh. “I sup-
pose I was asleep. Dale, what do you think is the
reason that our fathers and mothers and people take
care of us as they do ?”

“ How do you mean ?”

“Why, Agnes and I cannot make it out. When we
were by the sea-side, mother took us a great way along
the beach, to a place we did not know at all; and she
bade us pick up shells, and amuse ourselves, while she
went to see a poor woman that lived just out of sight.
We played till we were quite tired; and then we sat
down ; and still she did not come. At last, we were
sure that she had forgotten all about us ; and we did not
think she would remember us any more: and we both
cried. Oh! how we did cry! Then a woman time
along, with a basket at her back, and a great net over
128 THE CROFTON novs.

her arm: and she asked us what was the matter; and
when we told her, she said she thought it was not likely
that mother would forget us. And then she bade us take
hold of her gown, one on each side, and she would try to
take us to mother ; and the next thing was mother came
in sight. When the woman told her what we had said,
they both laughed ; and mother told us it was impossible
that she should leave us behind. I asked Agnes afterwards
why it was impossible ; and she did not know ; and I am
sure she was as glad as I was to see mother come in
sight. Ifshe really never can forget us, what makes her
remember us ?”

Dale shook his head. He could not tell.

“Because,” continued Hugh, “we can’t do anything
for anybody, and we give a great deal of trouble. Mother
sits up very late, sometimes till near twelve, mending our
things. There is that great basket of stockings she has
to mend, once a fortnight! And papa works very hard
to get money; and what a quantity he pays for our
schooling, and our clothes, and everything !”

“ Fiverybody would think it very shameful if he did
not,” suggested Dale. “If he let you go ragged and igno-
rant, it would be wicked.”

“ But why ?” said Hugh, vehemently. “That is what
I want to know. We are not worth anything. We are
nothing but trouble. Only think what so many people
. did yesterday! My mother came a journey ; and uncle
and aunt Shaw came: and mother sat up all night; and
Mr. Tooke never went to bed,—and all about me! I
ileciare I can’t think why.”

Dale felt as if he knew why ; but he could not explain
it. Mrs. Proctor had heard much of what they were
CROFTON QUIET. 129

saying. She had come in before closing her letter to
Mr. Proctor, to ask whether Hugh wished to seud any
particular message home. As she listened, she was too
sorry to feel amused. She perceived that she could not
have done her whole duty to her children, if there could
be such a question as this in their hearts—such a ques~
tion. discussed between them, unknown to her. She
spoke now ; and Hugh started, for he was not aware that
she was in the room.

She asked both the boys why they thought it was that
before little birds are fledged, the parent birds bring
them food, as often as once in a minute, all day long for
some weeks. Perhaps no creatures can go through harder
work than this; and why do they do it? for unfledged
birds, which are capable of nothing whatever but clz
mouring for food, are as useless little creatures as can be
imagined. Why does the cat take care of her little blind
kitten with so much watchfulness, hiding it from all
enemies till it can take care of itself. It is because love
does not depend on the value of the creature loved—it
is because love grows up in our hearts at God’s pleasure,
and not by our own choice ; and it is God’s pleasure that
the weakest and the least useful and profitable should be
the most beloved, till they become able to love and help
in their turn.

“Ts it possible, my dear,” she said to Hugh, “that you
did not know this,—you who love little Harry so much,
and take such care of him at home? I am sure yot
never stopped to think whether Harry could do you any
service, before helping him to play.”

“No; but then———”

“But what ?”
130 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“He is such a sweet little fellow, it is a treat to look
at him. Every morning when I woke, I longed to be
up, and to get to him.”

“That is, you loved him. Well: your papa and I
love you all, in the same way. We get up with plea-
sure to our business—your father to his shop, and I to
my work-basket—because it is the greatest happiness in
the world to serve those we love.”

Hugh said nothing; but still, though pleased, he did
not look quite satisfied.

“Susan and cook are far more useful to me than any
of you children,” continued his mother, “and yet I could
not work early and late for them, with the same pleasure
as for you.”

Hugh laughed ; and then he asked whether Jane was
not now as useful as Susan.

“Perhaps she is,” replied his mother ; “and the more
she learns and does, and the more she becomes my friend,
—the more I respect her: but it is impossible to love
her more than I did before she could speak or walk.
There is some objection in your mind still, my dear.
What is it ?”

“Tt makes us of so much consequence,—so much more
than I ever thought of,—that the minds of grown people
should be busy about us.”

“There is nothing to be vain of in that, my dear, any
more than for young kittens, and birds just hatched. But
it is very true that all young creatures are of great con-
sequence ; for they are the children of God. When, be-
sides this, we consider what human beings are,—that they
can never perish, but are to live for ever,—and that they
are meant to become more wise and holy than we can
imagine, we see that the feeblest infant is indeed a being
LITTLE VICTORIES. 131

of infinite consequence. This is surely a reason for God
filling the hearts of parents with love, and making them
willing to work and suffer for their children, even while
the little ones are most unwise and unprofitable. When
you and Agnes fancied I should forget you and desert you,
you must have forgotten that you had another Parent who
rules the hearts of all the fathers and mothers on earth.”
Hugh was left alone to think this over, when he had
given his messages home, and got Dale’s promise to come
again as soon as he could obtain leave to do so. Both the
boys were warned that this would not be till to-morrow,
as Hugh had seen quite company enough for one day. In-
deed, he slept so much, that night seemed to be soon come.



CHAPTER X.
LITTLE VICTORIES.

THoveH Mr. Tooke was so busy from having no usher, he
found time to come and see Hugh pretty often. He had
a sofa moved into that room: and he carried Hugh, with-
out hurting him at all, and laid him down there comfort-
ably, beside the fire. He took his tea there, with Mrs.
Proctor ; and he brought up his newspaper, and read
from it anything which he thought would amuse the boy.
He smiled at Hugh’s scruple about occupying his room,
and assured him that he was quite as well off in Mr. Car-
naby’s room, except that it was not so quiet as this, and
therefore more fit for a person in health than for an in-
valid. Mr. Tooke not only brought up plenty of books
from the school library, but lent Hugh some valuable

volumes of prints from his own shelves. me
a?
132 TIE CROFTON BOYS.

Hugh could not look at these for long together. His
head soon began to ache, and his eyes to be dazzled ; for
he was a good deal weakened. His mother observed alsa
that he became too eager about views in foreign countries,
and that he even grew impatient in his temper when talk.
ing about them.

“My dear boy,” said she one evening, after tea, when
she saw him in this state, and that it rather perplexed Mr.
Tooke, “if you remember your resolution, I think you
will put away that book.”

“O, mother !” exclaimed he, “you want to take away
the greatest pleasure I have !”

“Tf it is a pleasure, go on. I was afraid it was becom-
ing a pain.”

Mr. Tooke did not ask what this meant; but he evi-
dently wished to know. He soon knew, for Hugh found
himself growing more fidgety and more cross, the further
he looked in the volume of Indian Views, till he threw
himself back upon the sofa, and stuffed his handkerchief
into his mouth, and stared at the fire, struggling, as his
mother saw, to help crying. “I will take away the book,
—shall I, my dear ?”

“Yes, mother. Odear! I shall never keep my vow,
I know.”

Mrs. Proctor told Mr. Tooke that Hugh had made a
resolution which she earnestly hoped he might be able
to keep ;—to bear cheerfully every disappointment and
trouble caused by this accident, from the greatest to the
least,—from being obliged to give up being a traveller
by-and-by, to the shoemaker’s wondering that he wanted
only one shoe. Now, if looking at pictures of foreign
countries made him less cheerful, it seemed to belong to
LITTLE VICTORIES. 133

his resolution to give up that pleasure for the present.
Hugh acknowledged that it did; and Mr. Tooke, who
was pleased at what he heard, carried away the Indian
Views, and brought instead a very fine work on Trades,
full of plates representing people engaged in every kind
of trade and manufacture. Hugh was too tired to turn
over any more pages to-night: but his master said the
book might stay in the room now, and when Hugh was
removed, it might go with him; and, as he was able to
sit up more, he might like to copy some of the plates.

“ Removed !” exclaimed Hugh.

His mother smiled, and told him that he was going on
80 well that he might soon now be removed to his uncle’s.

“Where,” said Mr. Tooke, “you will have more quiet
and more liberty than you can have here. Your brother,
and any other boys you like, can run over to see you at any
time ; and you will be out of the noise of the play-ground.”

“T wonder how it is there is so little noise from the
play-ground here,” said Hugh.

“Tt is because the boys have been careful to make no
noise since your accident. We cannot expect them to
put themselves under such restraint for long.”

“Qno,no! Ihad better go. But, mother, you
you aunt Shaw is very kind, but ”

“T shall stay with you as long as you want me.”

Hugh was quite happy.

“But how in the world shall I get there?” he presently
asked. “It is two whole miles; and we can’t lay my leg
up in the gig: besides its being so cold.”

His mother told him that his uncle had a very nice
plan for his conveyance. Mr. Annanby approved of it,
and thought he might be moved the first sunny day.






134 THE CROFTON BOYS,

“What, to-morrow ?”

“Yes, if the sun shines.”

Mr. Tooke unbolted the shutter, and declared that it
was such a bright starry evening that he thought to-
morrow would be fine.

The morning was fine ; and during the very finest part
of it came Mr. Shaw. He told Hugh that there was a
good fire blazing at home in the back room that looked
into the garden, which was to be Hugh’s. From the
sofa by the fire-side one might see the laurustinus on the
grass-plot,—now covered with flowers: and when the
day was warm enough to let him lie in the window, he
could see the mill, and all that was going on round it.

Hugh liked the idea of all this: but he still looked
anxious.

“ Now tell me,” said his uncle, “what person in all the
world you would like best for a companion.”

“Tn all the world!” exclaimed Hugh. “Suppose I say
the Great Mogul !”

“Well; tell us how to catch him, and we will try.
Meantime, you can have his picture. I believe we have
a pack of cards in the house.”

“ But do you mean really, uncle,—the person I should
like best in all the world,—out of Crofton ?”

“Yes; out with it!”

“T should like Agnes best,” said Hugh, timidly.

“We thought as much. I am glad we were right.
Well, my boy, Agnes is there.”

“Agnes there! Only two miles off! How long will
she stay ?”

“O, there is no hurry about that. We shall see when
you are well what to do next.”
LITTLE VICTORIES. 135

“ But will she stay till the holidays ?”

“O, yes, longer than that, I hope.”

“But then she will not go home with me for the holi-
days ?”

“Never mind about the holidays now. Your holidays
begin to-day. You have nothing to do but to get well now,
and make yourself at home at my house, and be merry
with Agnes. Now shall we go, while the sun shines?
Here is your mother all cloaked up in her warm things.”

“O, mother! Agnes is come,” cried Hugh.

This was no news; for it was his mother who had
guessed what companion he would like to have. She now
showed her large warm cloak, in which Hugh was to be
wrapped ; and his neck was mufiled up in a comforter.

“But how am I to go?” asked Hugh, trembling with
this little bustle.

“Quietly in your bed,” said his uncle. “Come, I will
lift you into it.”

And his uncle carried him downstairs to the front
door, where two of Mr. Shaw’s men stood with a litter,
which was slung upon poles, and carried like a sedan-
chair. There was a mattress upon the litter, on which
Hugh lay as comfortably as on a sofa. He said it was
like being carried in a palanquin in India,—if only there
was hot sunshine, and no frost and snow.

Mr. Tooke, and Mrs. Watson, and Firth shook hands
with Hugh, and said they should be glad to see him back
again: and Mr. Tooke added that some of the boys
should visit him pretty often till the breaking-up. No-
body else was allowed to come quite near; but the boys
clustered at that side of the playground, to see as much
as they could. Hugh waved his hand; and every boy
136 THE CROFTON BOYS,

saw it; and in a moment every hat and cap was off, and
the boys gave three cheers,—the loudest that had ever
been heard at Crofton. The most surprising thing was
that Mr. Tooke cheered, and Mr. Shaw too. The men
looked as if they would have liked to set down the litter,
and cheer too: but they did not quite do that. They
only smiled as if they were pleased.

There was one person besides who did not cheer.
Tooke stood apart from the other boys, looking very sad.
As the litter went down the by-road, he began to walk
away; but Hugh begged the men to stop, and called to
Tooke. Tooke turned: and when Hugh beckoned, he
forgot all about bounds, leaped the paling, and came run-
ning, Hugh said,

“T have been wanting to see you so! but I did not like
to ask for you particularly.”

“T wish I had known that.”

“Come and see me,—do,” said Hugh. “Come the very
first, wont you ?”

“Tf T may.”

“Oh, you may, I know.”

“Well, I will, thank you. Good-bye.”

And on went the litter, with Mrs. Proctor and Mr.
Shaw walking beside it. The motion did not hurt Hugh
at all; and he was so warmly wrapped up, and the day
so fine, that he was almost sorry when the two miles
were over. And yet there was Agnes out upon the steps;
ani she sat beside him on the sofa in his cheerful room,
and told him that she had nothing to do but to wait on
him, and play with him. She did not tell him yet that
she must learn directly to nurse him, and, with her aunt’s
help, fill her mother’s place, because her mother was much
LITTLE VICTORIES, 137

wanted at home: but this was in truth one chief reagon
for her coming.

Though there was now really nothing the matter with
Hugh—though he ate, drank, slept, and gained strength
—his mother would not leave him till she saw him well
able to go about.

The carpenter soon came, with some crutches he had
borrowed for Hugh to try; and when they were sure of
the right length, Hugh had a new pair. He found it
rather nervous work at first, using them ; and he after-
wards laughed at the caution with which he began. First,
he had somebody to lift him from his seat, and hold him
till he was firm on his crutches. Then he carefully
moved forwards one crutch at a time, and then the other;
and he put so much strength into it, that he was quite
tired when he had been once across the room and back
again. Every stumble made him shake all over. He
made Agnes try; and he was almost provoked to see how
lightly she could hop about; but then, as he said, she
could put a second foot down to save herself, whenever
she pleased. Every day, however, walking became easier
to him ; and he even discovered, when accidentally left
alone, and wanting something from the opposite end of
the room, that he could rise, and set forth by himself,
and be independent. And in one of these excursions it
was that he found the truth of what Agnes had told him——
how much easier it was to move both crutches together.
When he showed his mother this, she said she thought he
would soon learn to do with only one. _

Hugh found himself subject to very painful feelings
sometimes—such as no one quite understood, and such as
he feared no one was able to pity as they deserved. A
138 THE CROFTON BOYS,

surprise of this sort happened to him the evening before
his father was to come to see him, and to fetch away his
mother.

It was the dark hour in the afternoon—the hour when
Mrs. Proctor and her children enjoyed every day a quiet
talk, before Mr. Shaw came to carry Hugh into his aunt’s
parlour to tea. Nothing could be merrier than Hugh had
been ; and his mother and Agnes were chatting, when
they thought they heard a sob from the sofa. They spoke
to Hugh, and found that he was indeed crying bitterly.

“ What is it, my dear?” said his mother. “ Agnes,
have we said anything that could hurt him?”

“No, no,” sobbed Hugh. “I will tell you presently.”

And presently he told them that he was so busy lis-
tening to what they said, that he forgot everything else,
when he felt as if something had got between two of
his toes ; unconsciously he put his hand down, and his
foot was not there! Nothing could be plainer than the
feeling in his toes: and then, when he put out his hand,
and found nothing, it was so terrible—it startled him so,

It was a comfort to him to find that his mother knew
all about this. She came and kneeled beside his sofa,
and told him that many persons who had lost a limb
considered this odd feeling the most painful thing they
had to bear for some time ; but that, though the feeling
would return occasionally through life, is would cease to
be painful. When he had become so used to do without
his foot as to leave off wanting or wishing for it, he would
perhaps make a joke of the feeling, instead of being
disappointed. At least she knew that some persons did
so who had lost a limb.

This did not comfort Hugh much, for every prospect
LITTLE VICTORIES, 139

had suddenly become darkened. He said he did not know
how he should bear his misfortune ;—he was pretty
sure he could not bear it. It seemed so long already since
it had happened! And when he thought of the long
long days, and months, and years, to the end of his life,
and that he should never run and play, and never be like
other people, and never able to do the commonest things
without labour and trouble, he wished he was dead. He
had rather have died.

Agnes thought he must be miserable indeed, if he could
venture to say this to his mother. She glanced at her
mother’s face ; but there was no displeasure there. Mrs.
Proctor said this feeling was very natural. She had felt
it herself, under smaller misfortunes than Hugh’s: but
she had found that, though the prospect appears all
strewn with troubles, they come singly, and are not worth
minding, after all. Shertold Hugh that, when she was a
little girl, very lazy—fond of her bed—fond of her book
—and not at all fond of washing and dressing:

“ Why, mother, you !” exclaimed Hugh.

“Yes; that was the sort of little girl I was. Well, I
was in despair, one day, at the thought that I should
have to wash, and clean my teeth, and brush my hair, and
put on every daily article of dress, every morning, as
long as I lived. There was nothing I disliked so much ;
and yet it was the thing that must be done every day of
my whole life.”

“Did you tell anybody ?” asked Hugh.

“No; I was ashamed to do that: but I remember I
cried. ‘You see how it turns out. Grown people, whe
have got to do everything by habit, so easily as not to
think abou’ it, wash and dress every morning, without


140 THE CROFTON BOYS,

ever being weary of it. We do not consider so much as
pce a year what we are doing at dressing-time, though
at seven years old it is a very laborious and tiresome affair
to get ready for breakfast.”

“Tt is the same about writing letters,” observed Agnes.
“The first letter I ever wrote was to aunt Shaw ; and it
took so long, and was so tiresome, that, when I thought
of all the exercises I should have to write for Miss
Harold, and all the letters that I must send to my rela-
tions when I grew up, I would have given everything I
had in the world not to have learned to write. Oh! how
I pitied papa, when I saw sometimes the pile of letters
that were lying to go to the post!”

“ And how do you like corresponding with Phil now 2?”

Agnes owned, with blushes, that she still dreaded the
task for some days before, and felt particularly gay when
it was done. Her mother believed that, if infants could
think and look forward, they would be far more terrified
with the prospect of having to walk on their two legs all
their lives, than lame people could be at having to learn
the art in part over again. Grown people are apt to
doubt whether they can learn a new language, though
children make no difficulty about it: the reason of which
is, that grown people see at one view the whole labour,
while children do not look beyond their daily task. Ex-
perience, however, always brings relief. Experience shows
that every effort comes at its proper time, and that there
is variety or rest in the intervals. People who have to
wash and dress every morning have other things to do in
the after-part of the day ; and, as the old fable tells us,

he clock that has to tick, before it is worn out, so many
millions of times as it perplexes the mind to think of,
LITTLE VICTORIES. 14)

has exactly the same number of seconds to do it in; so
that it never has more work on its hands than it can get
through. So Hugh would find that he could move about
on each separate occasion, as he wanted; and practice
would, in time, enable him to do it without any more
thought than it now cost him to put all the bones of his
‘hands in order, so as to carry his tea aud bread-and-butter
to his mouth,

“But that is not all—nor half what I mean,” said
Hugh.

“No, my dear; nor half what you will have to make
up your mind to bear. You will have a great deal to
bear, Hugh. You resolved to bear it all patiently, I
remember : but what is it that you dread the most ?”

“Oh! all manner of things. I can never do things
like other people.”

“Some things. You can never play cricket, as every
Crofton boy would like to do. You can never dance at
your sisters’ Christmas parties.”

“Oh! mamma!” cried Agnes, with tears in her eyes,
and the thought in her mind that it was cruel to talk so.

“Go on! go on!” cried Hugh, brightening. “You
know what I feel, mother ; and you don’t keep telling
me, as aunt Shaw does (and even Agnes sometimes), that
it wont signify much, and that I shall not care, and all
that ; making out that it is no misfortune hardly, when
I know what-it is, and they don’t.”

“That is a common way of trying to give comfort, and
it is kindly meant,” said Mrs. Proctor. “ But those whe
have suffered much themselves know a better way. The
best way is not to deny any of the trouble or the sorrow,
and not to press on the sufferer any comforts which he
142 THE CROFTON BOYS,

cannot now see and enjoy. If comforts arise, he will en-
joy them as they come.”

“Now then, go on,” said Hugh. “ What else ?”

“There will be little checks and mortifications con-
tinually—when you sce boys leaping over this, and
climbing that, and playing at the other, while you must
stand out, and can only look on. And some people will
pity you in a way you don’t like; and some may even
laugh at you.”

“O mamma !” exclaimed Agnes,

“T have seen and heard children in the street do it,”
replied Mrs. Proctor. “This is a thing almost below
notice ; but I mentioned it while we were reckoning up
our troubles.”

“Well, what else?” said Hugh.

“Sooner or later, you will have to follow some way of
life, determined by this accident, instead of one that you
would have liked better. But we need not think of this
yet :—not till you have become quite accustomed to your
lameness.”

“Well, what else ?”

“J musi ask you now. I can think of nothing more ;
and I hope there is not much else ; for indeed I think
here is quite enough for a boy—or any one else—to
bear.”

“T will bear it, though,—you will see.”

“You will find great helps. These misfortunes, of
themselves, strengthen one’s mind. They have some ad-
vantages too. You will be a better sckolar for your
lameness, I have no doubt. You will read more books,
and have a mind richer in thoughts. You will be more
beloved ;—not out of mere pity; for people in general
LITTLE VICTORIES, 143

will soon leave off pitying you, when once you learn to be
active again ; but because you have kept faith with your
schoolfellows, and shown that you can bear pain. Yes
you will be more loved by us all; and you yourself will
love God more for having given you something to bear
for his sake.”

“T hope so,—I think so,” said Hugh. “O mother! I
may be very happy yet.”

““Very happy; and, when you have once made up your
mind to everything, the less you think and speak about
it, the happier you will be. It is very right for us now,
when it is all new, and strange, and painful, to talk it
well over ; to face it completely : but when your mind is
made up, and you are a Crofton boy again, you will not
wish to speak much of your own concerns, unless it be to
me, or to Agnes, sometimes, when your heart is full.”

“Or to Dale, when you are far off.”

“ Yes,—to Dale, or some one friend at Crofton. But
there is only one Friend that one is quite sure to get
strength from,—the same who has given strength to all
the brave people that ever lived, and comfort to all
sufferers. When the greatest of all sufferers wanted relief,
what did he do?”

“ He went by himself, and prayed,” said Agnes.

“Yes, that is the way,” observed Hugh, asif he knew
by experience.

Mr. Shaw presently came, to say that tea was ready.

“T am too big a baby to be carried now,” cried Hugh,
gaily. “Let me try if I cannot go alone.”

“ Why,—there is the step at the parlour door,” said
Mr. Shaw, doubifully, “At any rate, stop till I bring »
light,”
144 THE CROFTON BOYS.

But Hugh followed close upon his uncle’s heels, and
was over the step before his aunt supposed he was half
way across the hall. After tea, his uncle and he were so
full of play, that the ladies could hardly hear one another
speak till Hugh was gone to bed, too tired to laugh any
more,



CHAPTER XI.
DOMESTIC MANNERS.

Arter Mr. Proctor had come and was gone, and Mrs.
Proctor was gone with him, Hugh began to wonder why
Tooke had never paid the visit he had promised. Several
boys had called; some to thank Hugh for balls that he
had quilted ; some to see how he got on; and some to
bring him Crofton news. Mr. Tooke had fastened his
horse up at the door, in passing, and stepped in for a few
minutes, two or three times a week: but it was now
within six days of the holidays, and the one Hugh most
wished to see had not appeared. His uncle observed his
wistful look when the door-bell rang, and drew his con-
clusions. He said, on the Wednesday before the breaking-
up, that he was going to drive past the Crofton school ;
that it was such a fine day that he thought Hugh might
go with him, and perhaps they might persuade some one
to come home to dinner with them.

Hugh had never enjoyed the open air more than during
this drive. He had yet much to learn about the country,
and it was all as beautiful as it was new. His uncle
pointed out to him the fieldfares wheeling in flocks over
the fallows; and the rabbits in the warren, scampering
DOMESTIC MANNERS. 145

away with their little white tails turned up; and the
robin hopping in the frosty pathway ; and the wild-ducks
splashing among the reeds in the marshes. They saw the ¢
cottagers’ children trying to collect snow enough from
the small’ remains of the drifts to make snow-balls, and
obliged to throw away the dirty snow that would melt,
and would not bind. As they left the road, and turned
through a copse, because Mr. Shaw had business with Mr.
Sullivan’s gamekeeper, a pheasant flew out, whirring,
from some ferns and brambles, and showed its long tail-
feathers before it disappeared over the hedge. All these
sights were new to Hugh: and all, after pain and confine-
ment, looked beautiful and gay.

Mr. Shaw could not stop for Hugh to get out at
Crofton ; so, when his arrival was seen, the boys were
allowed to go out of bounds, as far as the gig, to speak to
their school-fellow. Mr. Shaw asked Tooke to mount,
and go home with them for the day; and Tooke was so
pleased,—so agreeably surprised to see Hugh look quite
well and merry, that he willingly ran off to ask leave,
and to wash his face, and change his jacket. When he
had jumped in, and Hugh had bidden the rest good-bye, a
sudden shyness came over his poor conscious visitor: and
it was not lessened by Mr. Shaw telling Tooke that he
did not do credit to Crofton air,—so puny as he seemed :
and that he looked at that moment more like one that
had had a bad accident than Hugh did. When Mr. Shaw
perceived how the boy’s eyes filled with tears in an
instant, he probably thought within himself that Tooke
was sadly weak-spirited, and altogether more delicate
than he had been aware of.

Hugh was full of questions about Crofton matters,

k
146 THE CROFTON BOYS.

however ; and long before they reached Mr. Shaw’s, they
vere chattering as busily as possible. But then it was

, wl spoiled to Tooke again by seeing Hugh lifted out, and
nis crutches brought to him, and Agnes ready to take his
hat_and oloak, instead of his being able to run about,
doing everything for himself.

The sofa had been left in Hugh’s room, and there was a
fire there every afternoon, for him and Agnes, that their
aunt might have the parlour to herself till tea-time. The
three young people went therefore to this room after
dinner. Agnes felt a little uncomfortable, as she always
did when any Crofton boys came. They had so much to
say to each other of things that she did not understand,
and so very little to say to her, that she continually felt
as if she was in the way. When she proposed, as usual,
that Hugh should go through his exercises in walking
and running (for she was indefatigable in helping him to
learn to walk well, and superintended his practice every
afternoon), he refused hastily and rath&r rudely. Of
course, she could not know that he had a reason for wish-
ing not to show off his lameness before Tooke ; and she
thought him unkind. He might indeed have remembered
to ask her before to say nothing this afternoon about hig
exercises. She took out her work, and sat down at some
distance from the boys; but they did not get on. It was
very awkward. At last, the boys’ eyes met, and they saw
that they should like to talk freely, if they could.

“ Agnes,” said Hugh, “cannot you go somewhere, and
leave us alone ?”

“YT hardly know where I can go,” replied Agnes. “I
must not disturb aunt; and there is no fire anywhere
else.”
DOMESTIC MANNERS. 147

“QO, T am sure aunt wont mind, for this one afternoor.
You can be as still asa mouse ; and she can doze away, at
if nobody was there.”

“TY can be as still as a mouse here,” etiseretl Agnes,
“T can take my work to that farthest window; and if
you whisper, I shall not hear a word you say. on if I
do hear a word, I will tell you directly. And you will
let me come, now and then, and warm myself, if I find I
cannot hold my needle any longer.”

“No, no ; that wont do. We can’t talk so. Do just
go, and see whether aunt cannot let you be there for this
one afternoon.”

Agnes did not like to refuse anything to Hugh: but
she hesitated to take such a bold step as this. In his
eagerness, Hugh requested the same favour of Tooke ; but
Tooke, more anxious than even Agnes to oblige, had not
courage for such an errand. Hugh snatched his crutches,
and declared he would go himself. But now Agnes gave
way. She gathered up her work, and left the room,
Hugh little imagined where she went, this cold, darken-
ing December afternoon. She went to her own room,
put on her cloak, and walked up and down till tea was
ready, without fire or candle, and not very happy in her
mind,

Meanwhile the boys basked before a glowing fire.
Tooke began directly to open his full heart.

“Was that true that your sister said at dinner, about
your always longing so to come to Crofton !”

CeaYeOR:

“How sorry you must be that you came! How you
must wish you had never seen me!”

“TI knew there would be things to bear, whenever I

kQ
148 THE CROFTON BOYS,

came; and particularly while I was the youngest. Your
father told me that: and one of the things that made me
want to come more than ever was his telling me how you
bore things when you were the youngest—being set on
the top of that wall, and so on.”

“ Indeed, indeed, I never meant to hurt you when I
pulled your foot.—I suppose you are quite sure that it
was I that gave the first pull? Are you?”

“Why, yes; I am sure of that; and so are you: but I
know very well that you meant no harm ; and that is the
reason I would not tell. After what you did about the
sponge, I could not think you meant any harm to me.”

Tooke could not remember anything about a sponge ;
and when he was told, he thought nothing of it. He
went on—

“Do you think you shall never tell anybody, as long
as you live, who pulled you first ?”

“Never,” said Hugh, “unless I tell it in my sleep;
and that is not likely, for I never think about it in the
daytime,—or scarcely ever ; and when I can run about
again, I dare say I shall never think of it at all.”

“ But will you ever run about?”

“O yes! finely, you will see. I shall begin first with a
little stick-leg, very light. Mother is going to send some
for me to try. When I ama man, I shall have one that
will look like a real foot ; but that will not be so light as
the one you will see me with after the holidays. But you
do not half know what I can do now, with my crutches,
Here, I will show you.”

As he flourished about, and played antics, Agnes heard
the pit-pat of his crutches, and she thought she might as
well have been there, if they had told all their secrets, and
DOMESTIC MANNERS. 149

had got to play. But the noise did not last long, for
Hugh’s performances did not make Tooke very merry ;
and the boys sat down quietly again.

“Now, Ill tell you what,” said Tooke. “I am a
bigger and stronger boy than you, without considering
this accident. I'll take care of you all the time you are
at Crofton : and always afterwards, if I can. Mind you
that. If anybody teases you, you call me,—that’s all.
Say you will.”

“Why,” said Hugh, “I had rather take care of myself.
I had rather make no difference between you and every-
body else.”

“There now! You don’t forgive me, after all.”

“I do,—upon my word, I do. But why should I make
any difference between you and the rest, when you did
not mean me any harm,—any more than they? Besides,
it might make people suspect.”

“Well, let them. Sometimes I wish,” continued
Tooke, twisting himself about in the uneasiness of his
mind, “sometimes I wish that everybody knew now.
They say murderers cannot keep their secret. They are
sure to tell, when they cannot bear it any longer.”

“That is because of their consciences,” said Hugh.
“ But you are not guilty of anything, you know. I am
~ sure I can keep a secret easily enough, when I am not to
blame in it.”

“Yes? you have shown that. But ”

“Come! don’t let us talk any more about that.—Only
just this. Has anybody accused you? Because I must
know,—I must be on my guard.”

“ Nobody has said a word, because my father put us all
upon honour never to mention it: but I always feel as if


150 THE CROFTON BOYS.

all their eyes were upon me all day,—and sometimes in
the night.”

“Nonsense! I don’t believe anybody has pitched on
you particularly. And when school opens again, all their
eyes will be on me, to see how I manage. - But I don’t
mean to mind that. Anybody may stare that likes.”

Hugh sighed, however, after saying this; and Tooke
was silent. At length he declared,—

“Whatever you say against it, I shall always take your
part: and you have only to ask me, and I will always rua
anywhere, and do anything for you. Mind youthat.”

“Thank you,” said Hugh. “Now tell me about the
new usher ; for I dare say you know more than the other
boys do. Holt and I shall be under him altogether, I
suppose.”

“Yes: and you will be well off, by what I hear. He
is as little like Mr. Carnaby as need be.”

All the rest of the afternoon was taken up with stories
of Mr. Carnaby and other ushers, so that the boys were
surprised when the maid came to tell them that tea was
ready.

Agnes was making tea. © Hugh was so eager to repeat
to his uncle some of the good stories that he had just
heard, that he did not observe, as his aunt did, how red
his sister’s fingers were, and how she shivered still.

“My dear,” said Mrs. Shaw, “you have let these boys
keep you away from the fire.”

“Yes, aunt, Never mind! I shall be warm enough
presently.”

“But you should not allow it, Agnes. How are they
(wer to learn manners, if they are not made to give way
‘© young ladies while they are young? Boys are sure to
HOLT AND HIS DIGNITY. 15

be rude enough, at any rate. Their sisters should know
better than to spoil them.”

While poor Agnes’ hardships were ending with a lecture,
Hugh was chattering away, not at all aware that he had
treated his sister much as Phil had treated him on his
going to Crofton. Ifany one had told him that he was
tyrannical, he would have been as much surprised as he
had been at Phil’s tyranny over him. He did not know
indeed that his sister had been in the cold and in the
dark ; but he might have felt that he had used her with a
roughness which is more painful to a loving heart than
cold and darkness are to the body,



CHAPTER XII.
HOLT AND HIS DIGNITY.

THERE was no reason now why Hugh should not go to
church. Heand his crutches went between his uncleand ,
aunt in the gig one way, and between his uncle and
Agnes home again ; and he could walk up the aisle quite
well. He had been pleased at the idea of attending
church again, and had never thought of the pain of being
stared at for his lameness. This pain came upon him as
he entered the church ; and as he went up towards his
uncle’s pew, and saw the crowd of Crofton boys all look-
ing at him, and some of the poor people turning their
heads as he passed, to observe how he got on, he felt
covered with confusion, and wished that he had waited
one more Sunday, when the Crofton boys would have
been all gone, and there would have been fewer eyes to
mark his infirmity, But better thoughts soon arose, and
152 THE CROFTON BOYS.

made him ashamed of his false shame ; and before the
service was over, he felt how trifling is any misfortune
while we are friends with God, in comparison with the
least wrong-doing which sets us at a distance from him,
He could not but feel after church that he had rather, a
thousand times, be as he was than be poor Lamb, who
slunk away from him, and hid himself behind the other
boys,—his mind sore and troubled, no doubt, about his
debt, and his cheating transaction, so long ago. Hugh
asked some of the boys to bring up Lamb, to shake hands
before parting for the holidays ; but he would not come,
and wriggled himself out of sight. Then Hugh recol-
lected that he could forgive Lamb as well without Lamb’s
knowing it ; and he let him alone.

Then there was Holt. He and Holt had parted on
uneasy terms ; and Holt now looked shy and uncomfort-
able. Hugh beckoned to him, and asked him whether
he was really to remain at Crofton all the holidays.

“Yes,” said Holt. “I am the only one not going
home, unless you are to stay hereabouts. Even Tooke
is to be at his uncle’s in London. ‘When do you go
home ?”

“Not quite yet ;—not at the beginning of the holi-
days,” said Hugh, hesitating, and looking up at his uncle
For, in truth, he did not know exactly what was planned
for him, and had been afraid to ask.

His uncle said, very kindly, that he was not going to
part with Hugh till school opened again. He would re-
cover his full strength better in the country; and his
aunt had promised his parents that he should be a stout
boy again by the time he was wanted at Croften.

This was what Hugh had dreaded to hear; aud when
HOLT AND HIS DIGNITY. 153

he thought that he should not see his parents, nor little
Harry, for so many months, his heart sank. But he*was
still in the church ; and perhaps the place helped him to
remember his mother’s expectation that he should not
fail, and his own resolution to bear cheerfully whatever
troubles his misfortuue brought upon him, from the
greatest to the least. So when he heard his uncle saying
to Holt that he should ask Mr. Tooke to let him come
and spend two or three weeks at his house, he said so
heartily that he hoped Holt would come, that Holt felt
that whatever discontent had been between them was for-
given and forgotten.

Phil went homé, of course ; and when Holt arrived
at Mr. Shaw’s, Agnes also returned to London, that she
might see something of Phil. Then the two boys were
glad to be together, though Hugh would rather have had
his dear friend Dale for a companion ; and Holt knew
that this was the case. Yet Hugh saw, and was glad to
see, that Holt was improved. He had plucked up some
spirit, and was more like other lads, though still, by his
own account, too much like a timid, helpless foreigner
among the rough Crofton boys.

All the boys had some lessons to prepare in the holi-
days. Every one who had ever written a theme had a
theme to write now. Every boy who could construe had
a good piece of Latin to prepare; and all had either
Latin or English verses to learn by heart. Mrs. Shaw
made a point of her young visitors sitting down every
morning after breakfast to their business ; and Hugh was
anxious to spare no pains, this time, about his theme,
that, if he was to be praised, he might deserve it. He
saw that Holt could not fix his attention well, either
154 : THE CROFTON BOYS.

upon work or play ; and one morning, when Hugh was
pondering how, without knowing anything of history, he
should find a modern example to match well with his
ancient one (which he had picked up by chance), Holt
burst upon his meditation with—

“TI have a good mind to tell you what has been upon
my mind this ever so long.”

“Wait a minute,” said Hugh. “I must find my ex-
ample first.”

No example could he find, to his satisfaction, this day.
He gave it up till to-morrow, and then asked Holt what
was on hismind. But Holt now drew back, and did not
think he could tell. This made Hugh press ; and Hugh’s
pressing looked like sympathy, and gave Holt courage :
so that the thing came out at last. Holt was very miser-
able, for he was deep in debt, and the boys never let him
alone about it; and he did not see how he should ever
pay, as nobody was likely to give him any money.

“Remember, it is only sixpence that you owe me—not
a shilling,” said Hugh.

Holt sighed. Perhaps he had hoped that Hugh would
excuse him altogether. He explained that this sixpence
was not all, nor the chief part. He told that, when the
whole school was on the heath, one Saturday, they had

seen a balloon rising at a distance, and some boys began

betting about what direction it would move in when it
ceased to rise perpendicularly. The betting spread till
the boys told him he must bet, or he would be the only
one left out, and would look like a shabby fellow.

“And you did? exclaimed Hugh. “How silly !”

“You would have done it, if you had been there.”

No: I should not,”


HOLT AND HIS DIGNITY. 158

“ Yes, you would. Or, if you had not, it would have
been because of- I know what.”

“ Because of what, pray?”

“ Because of something the boys say about you. They
say you are very fond of money.”

“T! fond of money! I declare I never heard of such
a thing.”

“Well, you know you made a great fuss about that
half-crown.”

“As if it was about the money!” cried Hugh. “I
should not have cared a bit if my uncle had asked me
for it back again the next day. It was the being cheated.
That was the thing, What a shame——”

“ By-the-bye, did your uncle ever ask what you did
with that half-crown ?”

“No ; but he will next week, at the January fair. He
will be sure to ask then, Whata shame of the boys to
say so, when I forgave—>—”

He remembered, just in time, that he had better not
boast, or speak aloud, of having forgiven Lamb his debt
in secret. He resolved that he would not say another
word, but let the boys see that he did not care for money
for its own sake. They were all wrong, but he would be
above noticing it ; and, besides, he really had been very
anxious apoay ie half-crown, and they had only mistaken
the reason.

“How much did you bet on the balloon ?” he inquired
of Holt.

“ A shilling ; and I lost.”

“ Then you owe eighteen-pence.”

“ But that is not all. $ borrowed a oe of Meredith
to pay school-fines:




156 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“ What for ?”

“Chiefly for leaving my books about. Meredith says
I promised to pay him before the holidays; but I am
sure [never did. He twitted me about it so that I de-
clare I would have fought him, if I could have paid him
first.”

“That’s right,” exclaimed Hugh. “Why, Holé, what
a different fellow you are! You never used to tall of
fighting.”

“ But this fellow Meredith plagued me so! If it had
not been for that shilling, I would have knocked him
down. Well, here is half-a-crown altogether ; and how
am I ever to get half-a-crown ?”

“Cannot you ask your uncle ?”

“No; you know I can’t. You know he complains
about having to pay the bills for me before my father
ean. send the money from India.”

“ T suppose it would take too long to ask your father.
Yes; of course it would, There would be another holi-
days before you could have an answer; and almost
another still. I wonder what uncle Shaw would say.
He is very kind always, but it might set him asking ”

“ And what should I do, staying here, if he should be
angry and refuse? What should I do every day at
dinner ?”

“T know what I would do?” said Hugh, decidedly.
“T would tell Mr. Tooke all about it, and ask him for
half-a-crown.”

“Mr. Tooke? Oh! I dare not.”

“TJ dare,—in holiday-time. He is your master,-—next
to being your father, while your father is so far away,
You had better ask Mr. Tooke, to be sure.”




HOLT AND HIS DIGNITY. 157

“What go to Crofton, and speak to him? I really
want not to be a coward,—but I never could go and tell
him.”

“Write him a letter, then. Yes: that is the way.
Write a letter, and I will get one of my uncle’s men to
carry it, and wait for an answer: and then you will not
he long in suspense, at any rate.”

“TI wish I dare !”

Holt was not long in passing from wishing to daring.
He wrote a letter, which Hugh thought would do, though
he rather wished Holt had not mentioned him as insti-
gating the act. This was the letter :

“Tan Minn, January 6th.

“ Dear Sir,

“JT am very unhappy ; and Proctor thinks I had
better tell you what is upon my mind. I owe some
money, and I do not see how I can ever pay it, unless
you will help me. ‘You know I have owed Proctor six-
pence for ginger-beer, this long time ; and as Lamb hag
never paid him his share, Proctor cannot excuse me this
debt. Then I owe a boy a shilling, lent me for school-
fines ; and he never lets me alone about it. Then I was
led into betting a shilling on a balloon, and I lost ; and
so I owe half-a-crown. If you would lend me that sum,
sir, I shall be obliged to you for ever, and I shall never
forget it,

“Yours respectfully,
“Thomas Hour.”

Mr. Shaw’s man George carried the letter; but he
brought back neither letter nor money: only a message
that Mr. Tooke would call ; which put Holt into a great
fright, and made Hugh rather uneasy.
158 THE CROFTON BOYS.

There was no occasion for this, however. Mr. Tooke
came alone into the room where the boys were sitting ;
and neither Mr. nor Mrs. Shaw appeared during the
whole time of his visit: a thing which was rather odd,

but which the boys were very glad of. When Mr. Tooke .

had told them a little of some new boys expected after
the holidays, he said:

“Well, now, Holt, let us see what can be done about
your affairs.”

Holt looked uneasy ; for it seemed as if Mr. Tooke
was not going to lend him the money,—or to give it,
which was what he had hoped, while using the word
“lend.”

“Tam glad you asked me,” continued Mr. Tooke;
“for people, whether they be men or boys, can usually
retrieve their affairs when they have resolution to face
their difficulties. There is no occasion to say anything
about how you got into debt. We must consider how
you are to get out of it.”

“ That is very kind indeed !” exclaimed Holt.

“As to my lending you half-a-crown,” continued Mr.
Tooke, “that would not be helping you out of debt ; for
if you had had any prospect of being able to pay half-
a-crown, you would not have needed to apply to me at
» all.”

Holt sighed. Mr. Tooke went on.

“J cannot give you the money. I have less to give
away than I should like to have, for the sake of the poor
people round us. I cannot pay for a bet and school-
fines while the children of our neighbours want clothes
and fire.”

“No, sir, certainly,” said both the boys.
HOLT AND HIS DIGNITY. 159

“What do people do, all the world over, when they
want money?” asked Mr. Tocke. Holt looked puzzled.
Hugh smiled. Holt was hesitating whether to guess that
they put into the lottery, or dig for treasure, or borrow
from their friends, or what. Having always till lately
lived in India, where Europeans are rather lazy, and life
altogether is very languid, he did not see, as Hugh did,
what Mr. Tooke could mean,

‘“When men come begging to our doors,” said Mr,
Tooke, “ what is the first question we ask them ?”

Holt still look puzzled, and Hugh laughed, saying,

“Why, Holt, you must know very well. We ask them
whether they cannot get work.”

“Work!” cried Holt.

“Yes,” said Mr. Tooke. “The fathers and uncles of
both of you work for what money they have ; and so do
I; and so does every man among our neighbours who is
satisfied with his condition. As far as I see, you must
get the money you want in the same way.”

“Work !” exclaimed Holt again.

“How is he to get work?” asked Hugh,

“That is where I hope to assist him,” replied Mr,
Tooke. “Are you willing to earn your half-crown,
Holt ”

“T don’t know how, sir.”

“Widow Murray thinks she should have a better
chance for a new lodger if her little parlour was fresh
papered ; but she is too rheumatic to do it herself, and
cannot afford to engage a workman. If you like to try,
under her directions, I will pay you as your work
eserves.”

* But, sir, I never papered a room in my life ?”
160 THE CROFTON, BOYS.

“No more had the best paper-hanger in London when
he first tried. But if you do not like that work, what
do you think of doing some writing for me? Our tables
of rules are dirty. If you will make good copies of our
rules for all the rooms in which they hang, in the course
of the holidays, I will pay you half-a-crown. But the
copies must be quite correct, and the writing good. I
can offer you one other choice. Our school library wants
looking to. If you will put fresh paper covers to all the
books that want covering, write the titles on the backs,
compare the whole with the catalogue, and arrange
them properly on the shelves, I will pay you half-a-
crown.”

Holt’s pleasure in the prospect of being out of debt
was swallowed up in the anxiety of undertaking anything
so new to him as work out of school. Hugh hurried
him on to a decision.

“Do choose the papering,” urged Hugh. “TI can help
you in that, I do believe. I can walk that little way, to
widow Murray’s; and I can paste the paper. Widow
Murray will show you how to do it; and it is very easy,
if you once learn to join the pattern. I found that, when
TI helped to paper the nursery closet at home.”

“Tt is an easy pattern to join,” said Mr. Tooke.

“There, now! And that is the chief thing. If you
do the library books, I cannot help you, you know. And
remember, you will have two miles to walk each way;
four miles a day in addition to the work.”

“He can sleep at Crofton, if he likes,” said Mr.
Tooke.

“That would be a queer way of staying at uncle
Shaw’s,” observed Hugh. ‘

="
HOLT AND HIS DIGNITY, 145%

“Then there is copying the rules,” said Holt. “I might
do that here ; and you might help me, if you liked.”

“Dull work !” exclaimed Hugh. “Think of copying
the same rules three or four times over! And then, if
you make mistakes, or if you do not write clearly, where
is your half-crown? I don’t mean that I would not help
you, but it would be the dullest work of all.”

Mr. Tooke sat patiently waiting till Holt had made up
his mind. He perceived something that never entered
Hugh’s mind: that Holt’s pride was hurt at the notion
of doing workman’s work. He wrote on a slip of paper
these few words, and pushed them across the table to
Holt, with a smile :—

6¢ No debtor’s hands are clean, however white they be :
Who digs and pays his way—the true gentleman is he.”

Holt coloured as he read, and immediately said that he
‘chose the papering job. Mr. Tooke rose, tossed the slip
of paper into the fire, buttoned up his coat, and said that
he should let widow Murray know that a workman would
wait upon her the next morning, and that she must have
her paste and brushes and scissors ready.

“ And a pair of steps,” said Hugh, with a sigh,

“Steps, of course,” replied Mr. Tooke. “ You will
think it a pretty paper, I am sure.”

“ But, sir, she must quite understand that she is not at
all obliged to us,—that is, to me,” said Holt.

“Certainly. You will tell her so yourself, of course.”

Here again Holt’s pride was hurt ; but the thought of
being out of Meredith’s power sustained him.

“When Mr. Tooke was gone, Hugh said to his com-
panion,

“T do not want you to tell me what Mr. Tooke wrote

1
162 THE CROFTON BOYS, ‘

on that paper that he burned. I only want to know
whether he asked you to choose so as to indulge me.”

“You! Ono! there was nota word about you.”

“QO! very well!” replied Hugh, not sure whether he
was pleased or not.

The next morning was so fine that there was no diffi-
culty about Hugh’s walking the short distance to the
widow Murray’s ; and there, for three mornings, did the
boys work diligently, till the room was papered, and two
cupboards into the bargain. Holt liked it very well, ex-
cept for two things :—that Hugh was sure he could have
done some difficult corners better than Holt had done
them, if he could but have stood upon the steps ; and that
widow Murray did so persist in thanking him, that he
had to tell her several times over that she was not obliged
to him at all, because he was to be paid for the job.

Mr. Tooke came to see the work when it was done,
and returned to Mr. Shaw’s with the boys, in order to
pay Holt his half-crown immediately, and yet so that the
widow should not see. Hugh's eye followed Mr. Tooke’s
hand as it went a second time into his pocket ; and he was
conscious of some sort of hope that he might be paid
something too. When no more silver came forth, he felt
aware that he ought not to have dreamed of any reward
for the help he had freely offered to his companion: and
he asked himself whether his. schoolfellows were alto-
gether wrong in thinking him too fond of money; and
whether he was altogether right in having said that it
was justice that he cared for, and not money, when he
had pressed his debtor hard. However this might be, he
was very glad to receive his sixpence from Holt. As he
put it in his inner pocket, he observed that this would be
TRIPPING. 163

all the money he should have in the world when. he
should have spent his five shillings in fairings for home.
Holt made no answer. He had nothing to spend in
the fair ; still less, anything left over. But he remem:
bered that he was out of debt,—that Meredith would twit
him no more,—and he began to whistle, so light-hearted,
that no amount of money could have made him happier.
He only left off whistling to thank Hugh earnestly for
having persuaded him to open his heart to Mr, Tooke.



CHAPTER XIII.
TRIPPING.

Wuen the day came for returning to Crofton, Hugh
would have left his crutches behind at his uncle’s, so
much did he prefer walking with the little light stick-leg
he had been practising with for a fortnight. But his
aunt shook her head at this, and ordered the crutches
into the gig. He still walked slowly and cautiously, and
goon grew tired: and she thought he might find it a re-
lief at times to hop about on his crutches. They were
hidden under the bed, however, immediately on his arrival ;
so- anxious was Hugh to make the least of his lameness,
and look as like other boys as possible, both for Tooke’s
sake and his own. When the boys had been all assem-
bled for one day, and everybody had seen how little
Proctor could walk, the subject seemed to be dropped,
and nothing was talked of but the new usher. So Hugh
said to himself; and he really thought that he had fully
taken his place againas a Crofton boy, and that he should be
let off all notice of his infirmity henceforth, and all trials
12
164 THE CROFTON BOYS.

from it, except such as no one but himself need know of.
He was even not quite sure whether he should not be a
gainer by it on the whole. He remembered Tooke’s
assuzances of protection and friendship ; he found Phil
very kind and watchful ; and Mrs. Watson told him pri-
vately that he was to be free of the orchard. She showed
him the little door through which he might enter at any
time, alone, or with one companion. Here he might
read, or talk, and get out of sight of play that he could
not share. The privilege was to be continued as long as
no mischief was done to anything within the orchard.
The prospect of the hours, the quiet hours, the bright —
hours that he should spend here alone with Dale, de-
lighted Hugh: and when he told Dale, Dale liked the
prospect too; and they went together, at the earliest
opportunity, to survey their new domain, and plan where
they would sit in spring, and how they would lie on the
grass in summer, and be closer and closer friends for ever.

Holt was encouraged to hope that he should have his
turn sometimes ; but he saw that, though Hugh cared
more for him than before the holidays, he yet loved Dale
the best.

While Hugh was still in spirits at the thought that his
worst trials were over, and the pleasure of his indulgences
to come, he felt very complacent; and he thought he
would gratify himself with one more reading of the theme
which he had written in the holidays,—the theme which
he really believed Mr. Tookemight fairly praise,—so great
had been the pains he had taken with the composition,
and so neatly was it written out. He searched for it
in vain among his books and in his portfolio. Then he
got leave to go up to his room, and turn over all his
TRIPPING. 165

clothes, He did so in vain; and at last he remembered
that it was far indeed out of his reach,—in the drawer of
his aunt’s work-table, where it had lain ever since she
had asked him for it, to read to a lady who had visited her.

The themes would certainly be called for the first
thing on Mr. Tooke’s appearance in school, at nine the
next morning. The duties of the early morning would
leave no one any time to run to Mr.Shaw’s then. If
anybody went, it must be now. ‘The first day was one of
little regularity ; it was only just beginning to grow
dusk ; any willing boy might be back before supper ; and
there was no doubt that leave would be given on such
an occasion. So Hugh made his way to the play-
ground as fast as possible, and told his trouble to his best
friends there,—to Phil, and Holt, and Dale, and as many
as happened to be within hearing.

“Never mind your theme!” said Phil. “ Nobody ex-
pected you to do one; and you have only to say that you
left it behind you.”

“Tt is not that,” said Hugh. “I must show up my
theme.”

“You can’t, you know, if you have it not to show,”
said two or three, who thought this settled the matter.

“But it is there: it is ab my uncle’s, if any one would
go for it,” said Hugh, beginning to be agitated.

“Go for it!’ exclaimed Phil. “What, in the dark,—
this freezing afternoon ?”

“Tt is not near dark; it will not be dark this hour.
Anybody might run there and back before supper.”

He looked at Dale ; but Dale looked another way. For
a moment he thought of Tooke’s permission to appeal to
him when he wanted a friend: but Tooke was not within
166 THE CROFTON BOYS.

hearing ; and he dismissed the thought of pointing out
Tooke to anybody’s notice. He turned away as Phil re-
peated that it was quite certain that there would be no
bad consequences from his being unprovided with a
theme, which was not one of his regular lessons.

Phil was not quite easy, however: nor were the others
who heard; and in a minute they looked round for
Hugh. He was leaning his face upon his arms, against
the orchard wall; and when, with gentle force, they
* pulled him away, they saw that his face was bathed in
tears. He sobbed out,—

“T took such pains with that theme,—all the holidays!
And I can’t go for it myself.”

There were loud exclamations from many against Phil,
against one another, and against themselves; and now
everybody was eager to go. Phil stopped all who had
started off saying that it was his business ; and the next
moment, Phil was at Mr. Tooke’s study-door, asking
leave of absence till supper.

“ Little Holt has been beforehand with you,” said Mr.
Tooke. “TI refused him, however, as he is not so fit as
you to be out after dark. Off with you !”

Before Phil returned, it struck Hugh that he had been
very selfish ; and that it was not a good way of bearing
his trial to impose on any one a walk of four miles, to
repair a piece of carelessness of his own. Nobody blamed
him ; but he did not like to look in the faces round him,
to see what people thought. When Phil returned, fresh
and hungry from the frosty air, and threw down the
paper, saying,—

“There is your theme, and my aunt is very sorry.’
Hugh said,—
TRIPPING. — BG%

“Oh! Phil, and I am so sorry too! 1 hope you are
not very tired.”

“Never mind!” replied Phil. “There is your theme‘

And with this Hugh was obliged to be satisfied ; but
it left him exceedingly uncomfortable—sorry for Phil—
disappointed in Dale—and much more disappointed in
himself. The thought of what Holt had wished to do was
the only pleasant part of it; and Hugh worked beside
Holt, and talked with him all the evening.

Hugh felt, the next morning, as if he was never to
have any pleasure from his themes, though they were the
lesson he did best. This one was praised, quite as much
as the former one: and he did not this time tell any-
body what Mr. Tooke had said about it: but the pleasure
was spoiled by the recollection that his brother had run
four miles on account of it, and that he himself must
have appeared to others more selfish than he thought
them. He burned his theme, that he might the more
easily forget all about it ; and the moment after he had
done so, Phil said he should have kept it, as other boys
did theirs, for his parents to see.

Mr. Crabbe was just such a master as it was good for
the little boys to be under. He did not punish capri
ciously, nor terrify them by anything worse than hie
strictness. Very strict he was; and he thus caused them
some fear every day: for Holt was backward, and not
very clever : and Hugh was still much less able to learn
than most other boys. But all felt that Mr. Crabbe was
not unreasonable, and they always knew exactly how much
to be afraid of. Whether he had inquired, or been told,
the story of Hugh’s lameness, they did not know. He
said nothing about it, except just asking Hugh whether it
168 THE CROFTON BOYS.

tired him to stand up in class, saying that he might si3
at the top or bottom of the class, instead of taking places,
if he chose. Hugh did find it rather fatiguing at first .
but he did not like to take advantage of Mr. Crabbe’s
offer, because it so happened that he was almost always
at the bottom of his classes: and to have withdrawn
from the contest would have looked like a trick to hide
the shame, and might have caused him to be set down as
a dunce who never could rise. He thanked Mr. Crabbe,
and said that if he should rise in his classes, and keep a
good place for some time, he thought he should be glad
to sit, instead of standing ; but meantime he had rather
be tired. Then the feeling of fatigue went off before he
rose, or saw any chance of rising.

This inability to do his lessons so well as other boys
was a deep and lasting grief to Hugh. Though he had
in reality improved much since he came to Crofton, and
was now and then cheered by some proof of this, his
general inferiority in this respect was such as to mortify
him every day of his life, and sometimes to throw him
almost into despair. He saw that everybody pitied him
for the loss of his foot, but not for this other trouble,
while he felt this to be rather the worst of the two; and
all the more because he was not sure himself whether or
not he could help it, as every one else seemed certain that
he might. When he said his prayer in his bed, he
earnestly entreated that he might be able to bear the one
trouble, and be delivered from the other; and when, as
the spring came on, he was found by one friend or another
lying on the grass with his face hidden, he was often
praying with tears for help in doing this duty, when he
was thought to be grieving that he could not play at leap-
TRIPPING. 169

ing or foot-ball, like other boys. And yet, the very next
evening, when the whole school were busy over their
books, and there was nothing to interfere with his work,
he would pore over his lesson without taking in half the
sense, while his fancy was straying everywhere but where
it ought ;—perhaps to little Harry, or the Temple Gar-
dens at home, or to Cape Horn, or Japan—some way
farther off still. It did not often happen now, as for-
merly, that he forgot before morning a lesson well learned
over-night. He was aware that now everything de-
pended on whether he was once sure of his lesson ; but
the difficulty was in once being sure of it.

Finding Phil’s kindness continue threugh the first
weeks and months of the half-year, Hugh took courage
at last to open his mind pretty freely to his brother,
offering to do anything in the world for Phil, if he would
only hear him his lessons every evening till he could say
them perfect. Phil was going to plead that he had no
time, when Hugh popped out—

“The thing is that it does not help me to say them
to just anybody. Saying them to somebody that I am
afraid of is what I want.”

“Why, you are not afraid of me?” said Phil.

“Yes I am—rather.”

“What for ?”

“ Oh, hecause you are older ;—and you are so much
more of a Crofton boy than I am—and you are very
strict—and altogether——”

“Yes, you will find me pretty strict, I can tell you,”
said Phil, unable to restrain a complacent smile on find-
ing that somebody was afraid of him. “ Well, we must
see what we can do. I will hear you to-night, at any rate.”
170 THE CROFTON BOYS.

Between his feeling of kindness and the gratification
of his vanity, Phil found himself able to hear his brother's
lessons every evening. He was certainly very strict, and
was not sparing of such pushes, joggings, and ridicule as
were necessary to keep Hugh up to his work. These
were very provoking sometimes ; but Hugh tried to bear
them for the sake of the gain. Whenever Phil would
condescend to explain, in fresh words, the sense of what
Hugh had to learn, he saved trouble to both, and the
lesson went off quickly and easily: but sometimes he
would not explain anything, and soon went away in im-
patience, leaving Hugh in the midst of his perplexities.
There was a chance, on such occasions, that Firth might
be at leisure, or Dale able to help: so that, one way and
another, Hugh found his affairs improving as the spring
advanced ; and he began to lose his anxiety, and to gain
credit with the usher. He also now and then won a
place in his classes.

Towards the end of May, when the trees were full of
leaf, and the evenings sunny, and the open air delicious,
quite up to bed-time, Phil became persuaded, very sud-
denly, that Hugh could get on by himself now ; that it
was not fair that he should be helped; and that it was
even hurtful to him to rely on any one but himself. If
Phil had acted gradually upon this conviction, withdraw-
ing his help by degrees, it might have been all very well:
but he refused at once and decidedly to have anything
more to do with Hugh’s lessons, as he was quite old and
forward enough now to do them byhimself. This announce-
ment threw his brother.into a state of consternation not
at all favourable to learning; and the next morning
Hugh made several blunders, He did the same every
TRIPPING. 171

day that week ; was every afternoon detained from play
to learn his lessons again ; and on the Saturday morning
(repetition day) he lost all the places he had gained, and
left off at the bottom of every class.

What could Mr. Crabbe suppose but that a sudden fit
of idleness was the cause of this falling back? It ap-
peared so to him, and to the whole school; and poor
Hugh felt as if there was scorn in every eye that looked
upon his disgrace. He thought there could not be a boy
in the school who did no4 see or hear that he was at the
bottom of every class.

Mr. Crabbe always desired to be just: and he now
gave Hugh the opportunity of explaining, if he had any-
thing to say. He remained in the school-room after the
boys had left it, and asked Hugh a question or two. But
Hugh sobbed and cried so bitterly that he could not
speak so as to be understood ; and he did not wish to ex-
plain, feeling that he was much obliged to Phil for his
former help, and that he ought not to complain to any
master of its being now withdrawn. . So Mr. Crabbe
could only hope that next week would show a great dif-
ference, and advise him to go out with the rest this after-
noon, to refresh himself for a new effort.

Hugh did not know whether he had not rather have
een desired to stay at home than go out among so many
who considered him disgraced. It really was hard (though
Holt stood by him, and Dale was his companion as usual)
to bear the glances he saw, and the words that came to
his ear. Some boys looked to see how red his eyes were 7
some were surprised to see him abroad, and hinted a
favouritism because he was not shut up in the school-
room, Some asked whether he could say his alphabet
172 THE CROFTON BOYS.

yet; and others whether he could spell “dunce.” ‘The
most cruel thing of all was to see Tooke in particularly
high spirits. He kept away from Hugh ; but Hughi
eye followed him from afar, and saw that he capered and
laughed, and was gayer than at any time this half-year.
Hugh saw into his heart (or thought he did) as plain as
he saw to the bottom of the clear stream in the mea-
dows, to which they were bound for their afternoon’s
sport.

“T know what Tooke is feeling,” thought he. “He is
pleased to see me lowered, as long as it is not his doing.
He is sorry to see me suffer by my lameness ; because
that hurts his conscience: but he is pleased to see me
wrong and disgraced, because that relieves him of the
feeling of being obliged to me. If I were now to put
him in mind of his promise, to stand by me, and protect
me I declare I will it will stop his wicked joy
it will make him remember his duty.”

Dale wondéred to see Hugh start off, as fast as he
could go, to overtake the foremost boys who were just
entering the meadow, and spreading themselves over it.
Tooke could, alas! like everybody else, go faster than
Hugh ; and there was no catching him, though he did not
seem to see that anybody wanted him. Neither could he
be made to hear, though Hugh called him as loud as he
could shout. Holt was so sorry to see Hugh hot and
agitated, that he made no objection to going after Tooke,
though he was pretty sure Tooke would be angry with
him. Holt could run as fast as anybody, and he soon
caught the boy he was pursuing, and told him that little
Proctor wanted him very much indeed, that very moment,
Tooke sent him about his business, saying that he could






TRIPPING, 173

not come ; and then immediately proposed brook-leaping
for their sport, leading the way himself over a place se
wide that no lesser boy, however nimble, could follow.
Holt came running back, shaking his head, and show-
ing that his errand was in vain. Tooke was so full of
play that he could think of nothing else ; which was a
shame.

“Ah! and you little know,” thought Hugh, “how
deep a shame it is.”

With a swelling heart he turned away, and went
towards the bank of the broader stream which ran
through the meadows. Dale was with him in a moment,
-—very sorry for him, because everybody else was at
brook-leaping,—the sport that Hugh had loved so well
last autumn. Dale passed his arm round Hugh’s neck,
and asked where they should sit and tell stories—where
they could best hide themselves, so that nobody should
come and tease them. Hugh wished to thank his friend
for this ; but he could not speak directly. They found a
pleasant place among the flowering reeds on the bank,
where they thought nobody would see them ; and having
given Holt to understand that they did not want him,
they settled themselves for their favourite amusement of
story-telling.

But Hugh’s heart was too full and too sick for even
his favourite amusement ; and Dale was perhaps too
sorry for him to be the most judicious companion he
could have at sucha time. Dale agreed that the boys
were hard and careless; and he added that it was par-
ticularly shameful to bring up a boy’s other faults when
he was in disgrace for one. In the warmth of his zeal,
he told how one boy had been laughing at Hugh’s con-
174 THE CROFTON BOYS.

ceit about his themes, when ‘he had shown to-day that he
could not go half through his syntax ; and how he had
heard another say that all that did not signify half so
much as his being mean about money. Between Hugh’s
eagerness to hear, and Dale’s sympathy, five minutes were
not over before Hugh had heard every charge that could
be brought against his character, and knew that they
were all circulating this very afternoon. In his agony of
mind he declared that everybody at Crofton hated him,—
that he could never hold up his head there,—that he
would ask to be sent home by the coach, and never come
near Crofton again.

Dale now began to be frightened, and wished he had
not said so much. He tried to make light of it; but
Hugh seemed disposed to do something decided ;—to go
to his uncle Shaw’s, at least, if he could not get home.
Dale earnestly protested against any such idea, and put
him in mind how he was respected by everybody for his
bravery about the loss of his foot.

“ Respected?” Nota bit of it!” cried Hugh. “They
none of them remember: they don’t care a bit about it.”

Dale was sure they did.

“T tell you they don’t. I know they don’t. I know
it for certain ; and I will tell you how I know. There
is the very boy that did it,—the very boy that pulled me
from the wall O\ if you knew who it was, you would
say it was a shame !”

Dale involuntarily sat up, and looked back, over the
tops of the reeds, at the boys who were brook-leaping.

“Would you like to know who it was that did it,
Dale ?”

“Yes, if you like to tell; but——And if he treats



——
TRIPPING. 175

you ill, after the way you used him, he cannot expect you
should consider him so Besides, Iam your best friend ;
and I always tell you everything !”

“Yes, that you do, And he has treated me so shame-
fully ‘to-day! And I have nobody to speak to that
knows. You will promise rever—never to tell anybody
as long as you live.”

“To be sure,” said Dale.

“ And you wont tell anybody that I have told you.”

“To be sure not.”

“ Well, then. -

Here there was a rustling among the reeds which
startled them both, with a sort of guilty feeling. It was
Holt, quite out of breath,

“T don’t want to interrupt you,” said he, “and I know
you wish I would not come; but the others made me
come. The biggest boys lay that the second size can’t
jump the brook at the willow-stump; and the second-
size boys want Dale to try. They made me come. I
could not help it.”

Hugh looked at Dale, with eyes which said, as plainly
as eyes could speak, “ You will not. go you will not
leave me at such a moment ?”

But Dale was not looking at his face, but at the clusters
of boys beside the brook. He said—

“You will not mind my going, just for one leap. It
will hardly take a minute. I shall not stay for a game.
But I must have just one leap.”

And he was off. Holt looked after him, and then
towards Hugh, hesitating whether to go or stay. Hugh
took no notice of him; so he went slowly away; and
Hugh was left alone.








175 THE CROFTON BOYS.

Hewas inan extreme perturbation. Atthe first moment,
he was beyond measure hurt with Dale. He did not
think his best friend would have so reminded him of his
infirmity, and of his being a restraint on his companions.
He did not think any friend could have left him at such
amoment. Then it occurred to him,

«What, then, am I? If Dale was selfish, what was
I? Iwas just going to tell what would have pointed out
Tooke to him for life. I know as well as can be that it
was all accident his pulling me off the wall; and yet I
was going to bring it up against him; and for the very
reason why I should not,—because he has not behaved
well to me. I was just going to spoil the only good thing
I ever did for anybody in my life. But it is spoiled—
completely spoiled. I shall never be able to trust myself
again. It is all by mere accident that it is not all over
now. If Holt had not come that very instant, my secret
would have been out, and I could never have got it back
again! I could never have looked Tooke in the face any
more. I don’t know that I can now; for I am as wicked
as if I had told.”

Dale came back presently, fanning himself with his
cap. Ashe plunged into the reeds, and threw himself
down heside Hugh, he cried,

“JT did it! I took the leap, and came off with my
shoe-soles as dry as a crust. Ah! they are wet now ;
but that is with another leap I took for sport. TF told
you I should not be long gone. Now for it! Who
did it ?”

“T am not going to tell you, Dale,—not now, nor
pver.”

“Why, that is too bad! Iam sure I stay beside you

stl tl
TRIPPING. 17,

often enough, when the others are playing: you need not
grudge me this one leap,—when the boys sent for me, too.”
_ “Tt isnot that, Dale. You are very kind always in
staying beside me; and I do not wish that you should
give up play for my sake half so much as you do. But
I was very, very wrong in meaning to tell you that
secret. I should have been miserable by this time i.
I had.”

“But you promised. You must keep your promise.
What would all the boys say, if I told them you had
broken your promise ?”

“Tf they knew what it was about, they would despise
me for ever meaning to tell—not for stopping short in
time. That was only accident, however. But my secret
is my own still.”

Dale’s curiosity was so strong, that Hugh saw how
dangerous it was to have tantalised it. He had to re-
mind his friend of Mr. Tooke’s having put all the boys
upon honour not to inquire on this subject. This brought
Dale to himself; and he promised never again to urge
Hugh, or encourage his speaking of the matter at all.
They then went to story-telling ; but it would not do to-
day. Hugh could not attend ; and Dale could not invent,
while there was no sympathy in his hearer. He was
presently released, for it struck Hugh that he should like
to write to his mother this very afternoon. His heart
was heavy, and he wanted to tell her what was in it. Mr.
Crabbe gave him leave to go home; and Dale was in
time for plenty more play.

Hugh had the great school-room all to himself; and
as the window before his desk was open, he had the
pleasure of the fresh air, and the smell of the blossoms

m
178 THE CROFTON BOYS.

from the orchard, and the sound of the waving of the
tall trees in the wind, and the cawing of the rooks as
the trees waved. These things all made him enjoy
scribbling away to his mother, as well as finding his mind
grow easier ashe went on. Besides, he had not to care for
the writing ; for he had met Mr. Tooke by the church,
and had got his leave to send his letter without any-
body’s looking at it, as he had something very particular
to say. He wrote,—

* Dear Mother,—
“It is Saturday afternoon, and I have come home

from the meadows before the rest, to tell you something _

that has made me very uneasy. If I had told anybody
in the world who pulled me off the wall, it should and
would have been you,—that night after it happened:
and I am afraid I should have told you, if. you had not
prevented it; for I find Iam not to be trusted when I
am talking with anybody I love very much. I have not
told yet: but I should have told Dale if Holt had not
run up at the very moment. It makes me very unhappy,
—almost as much as if I had let it out: for how dol
know butt that I may tell a hundred times over in my
life, if I could forget so soon? I shall be afraid of loving
anybody very much, and talking with them alone, as long
as I live. I never felt the least afraid of telling till to-
day; and you cannot think how unhappy it makes me,
And then, the thing that provoked me to tell was that
boy’s being surly to me, and glad that I was in disgrace this
morning, for doing my lessons badly all this week,—the
very thing that should have made me particularly careful
how I behaved to him; for his pulling me off the wall was

ead
TRIPPING, 179

only accident, after all. Everything has gone wrong to-
day; and I am very unhappy, and I feel as if I should
never be sure of anything again ; and so I write to you.
You told me you expected me not to fail ; and you see I
have ; and the next thing is that I must tell you of it.
“ Your affectionate son,
“Hucu Proctor.

“P.S. Phil has been very kind about my lessons, till
this week [¢nterlined], when he has been very busy.

“P.S, If you should answer this, please put ‘private
outside, or at the top; and then Mr. Tooke will not read
it, nor anybody. But I know you are very busy always;
so I do not quite expect an answer.”

When the letter was finished and closed, Hugh felt
a good deal relieved: but still not happy. He had
opened his heart to the best friend he had in this world:
but he still felt grievously humbled for the present, and
alarmed for the future. Then he remembered that he
might seek comfort from a better Friend still ; and that
He who had sent him his trial could and would help
him to bear it, with honour as well as with patience. As
he thought of this, he saw that the boys were. trooping
home, along the road, and he slipped out, and into the
orchard, where he knew he might be alone with his Best
Friend. He stayed there till the supper-bell rang ; and
when he came in, it was with a cheerful face. He was
as merry as anybody at supper: and afterwards he found
his lessons more easy to him than usual. The truth was
that his mind was roused by the conflicts of the day.
He said his lessons to Phil (who found time to-night to
hear him), without missing a word. When he went to

m 2
180 THE CROFTON BOYS.

bed, he had several pleasant thoughts. His secret was still
his own (though by no merit of his); to-morrow was Sun-
day,—likely to be a bright, sweet May Sunday,—his lessons
were quite ready for Monday ; and possibly there might be
a letter from his mother in the course of the week.

Mrs. Proctor was in the midst of her Monday morning’s
business (and Monday morning was the busiest of the
week), when she received Hugh’s letter. Yet she found
time to answer it by the very next post. When her
letter was handed to Hugh, with the seal unbroken, be-
cause ‘private’ was written large on the outside, he
thought she was the kindest mother that ever was, to
have written so soon, and to have minded all his wishes,
Her letter was,—

“Dear Hugh,

“There was nothing in your letter to surprise me
at all; for I believe, if all our hearts were known, it
would be found that we have every one been saved from
doing wrong by what we call accident. The very best
people say this of themselves, in their thanksgivings to
God, and their confessions to one another. Though you
were very unhappy on Saturday, I am not sorry that
_ these things have happened, as I think you will be the
safer and the wiser for them. You say you never till
then felt the least afraid of telling. Now you know the
. danger; and that is a good thing. I think you will
never again see that boy (whoever he may be), without
being put upon your guard. Still, we are all sadly for-
getful about our duty; and, if I were you, I would use
every precaution against such a danger as you have
escaped,—it makes me tremble to think how narrowly.
Tf I were you, I would engage any frierd I should be-
TRIPPING. 18]

come intimate with, the. whole time of being at school,
and perhaps afterwards, never to say a word about the
eccident,—or, at least, about how it happened. Another |
way is to tell me your mind, as you have now; for you
may be sure that it is my wish that you should keep your
secret, and that I shall always be glad to help you to do it.

“ But, my dear boy, I can do but little, in comparison
with the best Friend you have. He can help you with-
out waiting for your confidence,—even at the very
instant when you are tempted. Jt is He who sends
these very accidents (as we call them) by which you have
now been saved. Have you thanked Him for saving you
this time? And will you not trust in His help hencefor-
ward, instead of supposing yourself safe, as you now find
you are not? If you use his strength, f feel that you will
not fail. If you trust your own intentions alone, I shall
never feel sure of you for a single hour, nor be certain
that the companion you love best may not be your worst
enemy, in breaking down your self-command. But, as
you say you were very unhappy on Saturday, I have no
doubt you did go for comfort to the right Friend, and
that you were happier on Sunday.

“Your sisters do not know that I am writing, as I
consider your letter a secret from everybody but your
father, who sends his love. You need not show this to
- Phil; but you can give him our love. Your sisters are
counting the days to the holidays; and so are some
older members of the family. As for Harry, he shouts
for you from the yard every day, and seems to think that
every shout will bring nearer the happy time when Phil
and you will come home.

“ Your affectionate mother,
“JANE Procror.”
182 THE CROFTON BOYS.

Hugh was, of course, very glad of this letter. And he
was glad of something else ;—that he had done the very
things his mother had advised. He had engaged Dale
not to tempt him on this subject any more. He had
opened his heart to his mother, and obtained her help;
and he had sought a better assistance, and a higher com-
fort still. It was so delightful to have such a letter as
this,—to be so understood and aided, that he determined
to tell his mother all his concerns, as long as he lived.
When, in the course of the holidays, he told her so, she
smiled, and said she supposed he meant as long as she
lived ; for she was likely to die long before he did.
Hugh could not deny this ; but he never liked to think
about it :—he always drove away the thought; though
he knew, as his mother said, that this wag rather
cowardly, and that the wisest and most loving people in
the world remember the most constantly and cheerfully
that friends must be parted for a while, before they can
live together for ever.



CHAPTER XIV.
HOLT AND HIS HELP,

Noruine more was heard by Hugh, or any one else, of
Lamb’s debt. The creditor himself chose to say nothing
about it, so much was he annoyed at being considered
fond of money: but he was sure that Lamb’s pockets were
filled, from time to time, as he was seen eating good
things in by-corners when everybody knew that his
credit with his companions, and with all the neighbour-
ing tradespeople, was exhausted. It was surprising that
anybody could care so much for a shilling’s worth of tarts
HOLT AND HIS HELP, 183

or fruit as to be at the trouble of any concealment, or of
constantly getting out of Hugh’s way, rather than pay,
and have done with it. When Lamb was seen munching or
skulking, Firth sometimes asked Hugh whether he had
got justice yet in that quarter : and then Hugh laughed ;
and Firth saw that he had gained something quite as
good,—a power of doing without it good-humouredly,
from those who were so unhappy as not to understand or
care for justice.

In one respect, however, Hugh was still within Lamb’s
power. When Lamb was not skulking, he was much
given to boasting ; and his boasts were chiefly about what
a great man he was to be in India. He was really des-
tined for India; and his own opinion was that he should
have a fine life of it there, riding on an elephant, with a
score of servants always about him, spending all his
mornings in shooting, and all his evenings at dinners and
balls. Hugh did not care about the servants, sport, or
dissipation ; and he did not see why any one should cross
the globe to enjoy things like these, which might be had
at home. But it did make him sigh to think that a lazy
and ignorant boy should be destined to live among those
mountains, and that tropical verdure of which he had
read,—to see the cave-temples, the tanks, the prodigious
rivers, and the natives and their ways, of which his imagi-
nation was full, while he must stay at home, and see
nothing beyond London, as long as he lived. He did not
grudge Holt his prospect of going to India; for Holt
was an improved and improving boy, and had, moreover, a
father there whom he loved very much : but Hugh could
never hear Lamb’s talk about India without being ready

to cry.
184 THE CROFTON BOYS.

“Do you think,” he said to Holt, “that all this
is true ?”

“Tt is true that he is to go to India. His father has
interest to get him out. But I do not believe he will
like it so well as he thinks. At least, I know that my
father has to work pretty hard,—harder than Lamb ever
worked, or ever will work.”

“O dear! I wish I could go and do the work; and 1
would send all the money home to him (except just
enough to live upon), and then he might go to dinners
and balls in London, as much as he liked, and I could see
the Hindoos and the cave-temples.”

“That is another mistake of Lamb’s,—about the quan-
tity of money,” said Holt. “I do not believe anybody in
India is so rich as he pretends, if they work ever so hard.
I know my father works as hard as anybody, and he is
not rich ; and I know the same of several of his friends.
So it is hardly likely that such a lazy dunce as Lamb
should be rich, unless he has a fortune here at home ; and
if he had that, I do not believe he would take the trouble
of going so far, to suffer by the heat.”

“T should not mind the heat,” sighed Hugh, “if I
could go. You must write to me, Holt, all about India.
‘Write me the longest letters in the world ; and tell me
everything you can think of about the natives, and Jug-
gernaut’s Car.”

“That I will, if you like. But Iam afraid that would
only make you long the more to go,—like reading Voyages
and Travels. How I do wish, though, that you were
going with me by-and-bye, as you let me go home with
you these holidays !”

It was really true that Holt was going to London
HOLT AND HIS HELP. 185

these holidays. He was not slow to acknowledge that
Hugh’s example had put into him some of the spirit that
he had wanted when he came to Crofton, languid, indo-
lent, and somewhat spoiled, as little boys from India are apt
to be ; and Hugh, for his part, saw now that he had been
impatient and unkind towards Holt, and had left him
forlorn, after having given him hopes that they were'to be
friends and companions. They were gradually becoming real
triends now ; and the faster, because Holt was so humble
as not to be jealous of Hugh’s still liking Dale best. Holt
was satisfied to be liked best when Dale could not be had ;
and as this was the case in the Midsummer holidays, he
was grateful to be allowed to spend them with the
Proctors.

Hugh was so thankful for his father’s kindness in
ziving him a companion ‘of his own age, and so pleased to
show Holt little Harry, and the leads, and the river, and
his shelf of books, and Covent Garden Market, and other
wonders of London, that any unpleasant feelings that the
boys had ever entertained towards each other were quite
forgotten, and they grew more intimate every day. It
touchéd Hugh’s heart to see how sorry Holt was for
every little trial that befel him, on coming home, altered
as he was. Agnes herself did not turn red oftener, or
watch more closely to help him than Holt did. Hugh
himself had +o tell him not to mind when he saw the
shop-boy watching his way of walking, or little Harry
trying to limp like him, or Susan pretending to find fault
with him, as she used to do, as an excuse for brushing
away her tears. Holt was one of the first to find out
that Hugh liked to be sent errands about the house, or in
the neighbourhood; and it was he who con~inced the
186 THE CROFTON BOYS.

family of it, though at first they could not understand or
believe it at all. When they saw, however, that Hugh,
who used to like that his sisters should wait upon him,
and to be very slow in moving from his book, even at his
mother’s desire, now went up stairs and down stairs for
everybody, and tried to be more independent in his
habits than any one else, they began to think that Holt
knew Hugh’s mind better than even they, and to respect
and love him accordingly.

There was another proof of friendship given by Holt,
more difficult by far ; and in giving it, he showed that he
really had learned courage and spirit from Hugh, or in
some other way. He saw that his friend was now and
then apt to do what most people who have an infirmity
are prone to,—to make use of his privation to obtain
indulgences for himself, or as an excuse for wrong feel-
ings; and when Holt could not help seeing this, he reso-
lutely told his friend of it. No one else but Mrs.
Proctor would see or speak the truth on such occasions ;
and when his mother was not by, Hugh would often have
done selfish things unchecked, if it had not been for Holt.
His father pitied him so deeply, that he joked even about
Hugh’s faults, rather than give him present pain. Phil
thought he had enough to bear at Crofton, and that every-
body should let him alone in the holidays. His sisters
humoured him in everything: so that if it had not been
for Holt, Hugh might have had more trouble with his
faults than ever, on going back to Crofton.

“Do you really and truly wish not to fail, as ycu say,
Hugh?’ asked Holt.

“To be sure.”

“Well, then, do try not to be cross.”
HOLT AND HIS HELP, 187

“T am not cross.”

“T know you think it is low spirits. I am not quite
sure of that: but if it is, would not it be braver not to
be low in spirits ?”

Hugh muttered that that was fine talking for people
that did not know.

“That is true, I dare say; and I do not believe I
should be half as brave as you, but I should like to see
you quite brave.”

“Tt is a pretty thing for you to lecture me, when I got
down those books on purpose for you,—those Voyages and
Travels, And how can I look at those same books, now
and not 2

Hugh could not go on, and he turned away his head.

“Was it for me?” exclaimed Holt, in great concern.
“Then I am very sorry. I will carry them to Mrs.
Proctor, and ask her to put them quite away till we are
gone back to Crofton.”

“No, no. Don’t do that. I want them,” said Hugh,
finding now that he had not fetched them down entirely
on Holt’s account. But Holt took him at his word, and
_ carried the books away, and succeeded in persuading
Hugh that it was better not to look at volumes which he
really almost knew by heart, and every crease, stain and
dog’s-ear of which brought up fresh in his mind his old
visions of foreign travel and adventure. Then, Holt
never encouraged any conversation about the accident
with Susan, or with Mr. Blake, when they were in the
shop; and he never pretended to see that Hugh’s lame-
ness was any reason why he should have the best of their
places in the Haymarket Theatre (where they went once),
« be the chief person when they capped verses, or played


188 THE CROFTON BOYS.

other games round the table, in the evenings at home
The next time Hugh was in his right mood, he was sure
to feel obliged to Holt ; and ke sometimes said so.

“T consider you a real friend to Hugh,” said Mrs,
Proctor, one day, when they three were together. “TI
have dreaded seeing my boy capable only of a short effort
of courage ;—bearing pain of body and mind well while
everybody was sorry for him, and ready to praise him;
and then failing in the long trial afterwards. When other
people are leaving off being sorry for him, you continue
your concern for him, and still remind him not to fail.”

“Would not it be a pity, ma’am,” said Holt, earnestly,
“would it not be a pity for him to fail when he bore every-
thing so well at first, and when he helped me so that I
don’t know what I should have done without him? He
made me write to Mr. Tooke, and so got me out of debt ;
and a hundred times, I am sure, the thought of him and
his secret has put spirit into me. It would be a pity if
he should fail without knowing it, for want of somebody
to put him in mind. He might so easily think he was
bearing it all well, as long as he could talk about his foot,
and make a joke of being lame, when, all the while, he
might be losing his temper in other ways.”

“Why, how true that is!” exclaimed Hugh. “I was
going to ask if I was ever cross about being lame: but I
know I am about other things, because I am worried
about that, sometimes.”

“Tt is so easy to put you in mind,” continued Holt ;
“and we shall all be so glad if you are brave to the very
end Ny

“T will,” said Hugh. ‘Only do you go on to put me
in mind ”




HOLT AND HIS HELP. 189

“ And you will grow more and more brave, fvo,” ob-
served Mrs, Proctor to Holt.

Holt sighed ; for he thought it would take a great
deal of practice yet to make hina a brave boy. Other
people thought he was getting on very fast.



CHAPTER XV.
CONCLUSION.

Tu longer these two boys were together, the more they
wished that they could spend their lives side by side; or,
at least, not be separated by half the globe. Just before
the Christmas holidays, some news arrived which startled
them so much that they could hardly speak to one
another about it for some hours. There was a deep
feeling in their hearts which disposed them to speak alone
to the Ruler of their lives, before they could even rejoice
with one another. When they meditated upon it, they
saw that the event had come about naturally enough ;
but it so exactly met the strongest desire they had in the
world, that if a miracle had happened before their eyes,
they could not have been more struck.

Holt’s father wrote a letter to Mr. Proctor, which
reached its destination through Mr. Tooke’s hands; and
Mr. Tooke was consulted in the whole matter, and re-
quested by Mr. Proctor to tell the two boys and Phil all
about it. These three were therefore called into Mr.
Tooke’s study, one day, to hear some news.

The letters which Mr. Tooke read were about Hugh.
Mr. Holt explained that his son’s best years were to be
spent, like his own, in India; that his own experience
had made him extremely anxious that his son should be
190 THE CROFTON BOYS.

associated with companions whom he could respect and
love; and that he had long resolved to use such interest
as he had in bringing out only such a youth, or youths,

as he could wish his son to associate with. He mentioned ~

that he was aware that one lad now at Crofton was des-
tined for India—

“That is Lamb,” whispered the boys to each other.

But that he did not hear of any friendship formed, or
likely to be formed with advantage between his son and
this young gentleman.

“ No, indeed !” muttered Holt.

There was one boy, however, Mr. Holt went on to say,
to whom his son seemed to be attached, and concerning
whom he had related circumstances which inspired a
strong interest, and which seemed to afford an expecta-
tion of an upright manhood following a gallant youth.

Here all the boys reddened, and Hugh looked hard at
the carpet.

This boy had evidently a strong inclination for travel
and adventure ; and though his lameness put military or
naval service out of the question, it might not unfit him
for civil service in India. If Mr. Tooke could give such
a report of his health, industry, and capability as should
warrant his being offered an appointment, and if his
parents were willing so to dispose of him, Mr. Holt was
anxious to make arrangements for the education of the
boys proceeding together, in order to their being compa-
nions in their voyage and subsequent employments. And
then followed some account of what these arrangements
were to be.

“Now, Proctor,” said Mr. Tooke to the breathless
Hugh, “you must consider what you have to say to this.
CONCLUSION. 191

Your parents are willing to agree, if you are. But if,”
he continued, with a kind smile, “it would make you
very unhappy to go to India, no one will force your incli-
nations.”

“ Oh, sir,” said Hugh, “I will work very hard,—I will
work as hard as ever I can, if I may go.”

“Well: you may go, you see, if you will work hard.
You can consider it quietly, or talk it over with your
brother and Holt ; and to-morrow you are to dine at
your uncle’s, where you will meet your father; and he
and you will settle what to write to My. Holt, by the
next ship.”

“And you, sir,” said Phil, anxiously —“ Mr. Holt asks
your opinion.”

“My opinion is that your brother can be what he
pleases. He wants some inducement to pursue his learn-
ing more strenuously than he has done yet

“T will, sir. I will, indeed,” cried Hugh.

“TI believe you will. Such a prospect as this will be
an inducement, if anything can. You are, on the whole,
a brave boy ; and brave boys are not apt to be ungrate-
ful to God or man; and Iam sure you think it would
be ungrateful, both to God and man, to refuse to do your
best in the situation which gratifies the first wish of
your heart.”

Hugh could not say.another, word. He made his
lowest bow, and went straight to his desk. As the first-
fruits of his gratitude, he learned his lessons thoroughly
well that night ; much as he would have liked to spend
the time in dreaming.

His father and he had no difficulty in settling what to
write to Mr, Holt; and very merry were they together


192 THE CROFTON BOYS.

when the busiress was done. In a day or two, when
Hugh had had time to think, he began to be glad on
Tooke’s account ; and he found an opportunity of saying
to him one day,

“T never should have gone to India if I had not lost
my foot ; and I think it is well worth while losing my
foot to go to India.”

“Do you really? or do you say it because

“T think so really.” And then he went off into such
a description as convinced Tooke that he was in earnest,
though it was to be feared that he would be disap-
pointed by experience. But then again, Mr. Tooke was
heard to say that one chief requisite for success and
enjoyment in foreign service of any kind was a strong
inclination for it. So Tooke was consoled, and easier in
mind than for a whole year past.

Hugh was able to keep his promise of working’ hard.
Both at Crofton and at the India College, where his
education was finished, he studied well and successfully ;
and when he set sail with his companion, it was with a
heart free from all cares but one. Parting from his family
was certainly a great grief; and he could not forget the
last tone he had heard from Agnes. But this was his only
sorrow. He was, at last, on the wide sea, and going to
Asia. Holt was his dear friend. He had left none but
well-wishers behind. His secret was his own ; (though,
indeed, he scarcely remembered that he had any secret ;)
and he could not but be conscious that he went out well

‘epared for honourable duty,

”



Cr
ia

THE ENDS
al a

[os a a