~7ir / .r
Tin'l C(,Rollo. ;"(o's
"THE PEASANT AND THE PRINCE," "FEATS ON THE FIORD."
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL
NEW YORK: 9, LAFAYETTE PLACE
BALLANTYNE, HANSON AND CO., EDINBURGH
CHANDOS STBRET, LONDON
; I. ALL THCE PR0TORS BUT PHIlJ .
S I. TlEV MD. TOOK CAME .
III. MTOia.LELM&S-DAY COME B .
IV. IICHAELAMS-DAY OVER . .
V. :I F . .
S I. ISTM AMBL . .
S Vl. WHAT 1 'ONLY TO BE IHAD AT HOM .
VIll. A LOG I.AT . .
i Cl iFT:iN rQUIET . ,
S. LITILC VICTORIES . .
XI. LDOM'ill) I MANN .ERS .
Ir. HOLT ATN. HIS DIGNITY . .
HXIII. TARIIPEN , ,. ,
XIV. BOLT A;D HIS HELP *
xV. CONoLuSj . ,
, ? 'r '
. *. 103
THE CROFTON BOYS.
ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL.
MI. 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 gett ing 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
Sof his sisters, early on a summer's morning, to spend his
Spenny (when he happened to .have one) on a bunch of
flowers, to lay on papa's plate, to surprise him when he
S,camo in to breakfast. Not much farther off was the
Temple Garden, where Mrs. Proctor took her children
e ery fine summer evening to walk and breathe the air
. fim the river; and when Mr. Proctor could find time to
Sco01 to them for a turn or two before the younger ones
.. mu@ g 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 of the garden to all friends from
the country who came to visit them.
The greatest privilege of all, however, was that they
wouldd see the river without going out of their own house.
.There were three back windows to the house, one above
another; and from the two uppermost of these windows
there was what the children called a view of the Thames.
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 6r
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 frqm 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
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.
SThe girls had no peace from their brothers climbing
about in dangerous plac.. Hugh was, if possible, worse
than Philip for this. He imitated all Philip's feats, and
had some of his own besidle. In answer to Jane's lee-
tares afd the entreaties of Agnes, Hugh always declared
that he had a right to do such things, as he meant to be a
soldier or a sailor; and how should he be able to climb
the mast of a ship, or the walls of a city, if he did not
begin to practise new ? Agnos was almost sorry they
had been to Broardtairs, and could see ships in the
Thames, when she consid:ler.:-t 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
Some news of victories, and help to put up candles at
,, the windows on illumination nights, he had a great fancy
'I for being a soldier; but that it was his fortune to see some
SI soldiers from Spain, and hear from them what war really
Swad, just when peace came, and when there was no more
glory to be got; so that he had happily settled down to
a London shop-keeper-a lot which he would not ex-
S'apge with that of any win living. Hugh was very like
S.Jane a,.Ided ; and the same change might.take place
Jid, if he was not made perverse by argument
es only sighed, and bent her head closer over her
OW 4) She heard Hugh talk of the adventures ho meant
At THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL.
8 THE CROFTON BOYS.
so have when he should be old enough to get away from
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
sure that she had espven to his mother about him. He
ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL. 9
felt that his mother became more strict in making him
sit dowu beside her, in the afternoon, to learn his lesson
S 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 Hiuglh' troubles with Miss Harold, Hugh was
seized with a loingu 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
littlee boys. Hugh was aware that his father and mother
,meant to send him to school with Philip by-and-by;
lbub the idea of having to wait-to do his lessons with
;'Tiiss Harold every day till he should be ten years old,
h .iade him roll hbinelf on the parlour carpet in despair.
S ",'Philip was bet ween eleven and twelve. He was happy
school : and he liked to talk all about it at home.
'ese holidays, Hugh made a better listener than even
sisters ; and he was a more amusing one-he knew
S Lx, .t*jtle about the country. He asked every question
l tkf, ,uld be imagined about the playground at the
school, and the boys' doings out of school;
id thnV when Philip fancied he must know all about
10 THE CBOFTON 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; hii
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 doot
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
-Mrs. Proctor spread a handkerchief over the stockings
if her work-basket; Jane put back a stray curl which
'had' fallen over her face; Agnes lifted up her head with
& sigh, as if relieved that the multiplication-table must
stBp for this time; and Hugh gazed into the passage,
tough the open.door, when he heard a man's step there.
Fhe maid announced Mr. Tooke, of Crofton; and Mr.
ooke walked in.
;' Mrs. Proctor had actually to push Hugh to one side,-
Io directly did he stand in the way between her and her
Visitor. He stood, with his hands still behind his back,
azlng up at Mr. Tooke, with his face hotter than the
kultiplication-table had ever made it, and his eyes staring
Aiuite as earnestly as they had ever done to find Robinson
riusoe's island in thb map.
Go, child," said Mrs. Proctor: but this was not
itugh.L Mr. Tooke himself had to pass him under his
Ift'hrm before he could shake hands with Mrs. Proctor.
iRugh was now covered with shame at this hint that he
s in the way; but yet he did not leave the room. He
le to the window, and flung himself down on two
as if lookinginto the street from behind the blind;
bt he saw nothing that passed out of doors, so eager was
Hope of hearing something of the Crofton boys,-their
dt-ball, and their Saturday walk with the usher.' Not
-d of this kind did he hear. As soon as Mr. Took
d to stay to dinner, his sisters were desired to
dir work elsewhere,-to the leads, if they liked;
Stold that he might go to play. He had hoped
overlooked is the window; and unwillingly
A ,, t ,'
IZ 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 out a 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
: "0 Hugh I" exclaimed Agnes, as soon as he set foot on
the leads. "What do you think ?-But is the parlour
,; door shdt? Who shut it "
'; Mother bade me shut it, as I passed."
' 0 dear I" said Agnes, in a tone of disappointment;
S"th.en she did not mean us to hear what they were talk-
S"What was it? Anything about the Crofton boys?
Anything about Phil I"
S" I 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 I What
.do, ou think I heard mamma tell Mrs. Bicknor, last
Bek, when I was jumping Harry off the third stair 2"
A" Never mind that. Tell me what they are talking
out now. Do, Agnes."
"Agnes shook her head.
a Now do, dear."
t was hard for Agnes to refuse Hugh anything, at any
o; more still when he called her "dear," which he
om did; and rilost of all when he put his arm round
.i eck, as he did now. But she answered,-
I should like to tell you every word; but I cannot
Mamma has made you shut the door. She does
*ish you to hear it."
el Then will you tell Jane "
s. I shall tell Jane, when we are with mamma at
ti too bad i" exclaimed Hugh, flinging himself
'. e leads so vehemently that his sister was
14 THE CROFTON BOYS.
afraid he would roll over into the yard. "What does
Jane care about Crofton and the boys to what I do 1"
There is one boy there that Jane cares about more
than you do, or I, or anybody, except papa and mamma.
Jane loves Phil."
"0, then, what they are saying in the parlour is about
"I 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
For shame, Hugh I 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 T"
"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
SALL THE PROCTOBS BUT PHIL. .1
iae.seven is. Now, remember, you promised not to be
', Hugh caTied off his anger by balancing himself on his
''. id,~ as if i' meant to send his heels over, but that there
was no room. From upside down, his voice was heard
sang that he knew that as well as Agnes.
,i; -* ell,l then, how much is it "
S _wi'renty-eight., to be sure. Who does not know that r
L,( "Then pray do not call it fifty-six anymore. Miss
S;WI' ,'ilThere's the thing," said Hugh. "When Miss Harold
S ereA can think of nothing but fifty-six. It seems to
S i.4itay ears, as if somebody spoke it, 'four times
l~qil. make me get it by heart, too, if you say it
tn!", said Agnes. "You had better say 'twenty-
~ g9ver.to yourself all day long. You may say it to
.as often as you like. I shall not get tired. Come,
* niow-' four times seven- '"
Vh.ve had enough of that for to-day-tiresome stuff!
g*ri, shall go and play with Harry again."
Lvsit--.just say that line once over, Hugh. I have
fp ifo. wsing.it. I have, indeed."
~qetheg tas been telling Mr. Tooke that I cannot say
l.ipijeastion-table i Now, that is too bad!" ex-
Ae. Hugh., And they will make me say it after
lhat a shame f'
.yiljHugh you know mamma does not like-you
at would not-you know mamma never does
4 You should not say such things, Hugh."
a c you cannot say that she has not told Mr.
ymy tables wrong." t
10. THE' ROFTON BOYS.
"Well-you know you always do say it wrong to her."
"I will go somewhere. I will hide myself. I will run
to the market while the cloth is laying. I will get away,
and not come back till Mr. Tooke is gone. I will never
say my multiplication-table to him !"
Never "T said Agnes, with an odd smile and a sigh.
"However, do not talk of running away, or hiding your-
S self. You will not have to say anything to Mr. Tooke
"How do you know I"
"I feel sure you will not. I do not believe Mr. Tooke
will talk to you, or to any of us. There you go I You
will be in the water-butt in a minute, if you tumble so."
"I don't care if I am. .Mr. Tooke will not come there -
to hear me say my tables. Let me go !" he cried, 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 I what will Jane sayl" 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. 17
Ing the cloth and bringing up dinner, to smooth
,gh's hair, and give a particular lock a particular turn
6 his forehead with a wet comb.
Let that' alone," said Hugh, as Agnes peeped into
iiebut 'after the drowning collar. I will have the top
oiihis afternoon, and it will make good fishing for
,Irry. and me."
S'Agnes had to let the matter alone; for Hugh was so
histy that she had to brush one side of him while Susan
the other. Susan gave him some hard knocks while
assured, him that he was not going to have Harry up
legdlto learn his tricks, or to be drowned. She
i, ew which of the two would be the worst for
-. It was lucky for Hugh that Susan was wanted
r directly, for she scolded him the whole time she
parting and smoothing his hair. When it was done,
er, and the wet lock on his forehead took the right
onjc, she gave him a kiss in the very middle of it,
S she. knew he would be a good boy before the
~ita, om the country.
would not. go in with Agnes, because he knew
oke would shake hands with her, and take notice
"onwho was with her. He waited in the passage
fa: carried in the fish, when he entered behind
tsipped to the window till the party took their
q' he hoped Mr. Tooke would not observe who
en Agnes and his father. But the very first
father did was to pull his head back by the hair
Sask him whether he had persuaded Mr.
Shim all about the Crofton boys.
o4 wish to iiake any answer; but his father
d he thought he must speak; so he said
15 THE CROFTON BOYS.
that Phil had told him all he wanted to know about the
"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
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 corn-field, 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.
Mbol between his mother and Mr. Tooke: and presently
-1e.was leaning on his arms on the table, with his face
.close to Mr. Tooke's, as it swallowing the gentleman's
words as they fell. This was inconvenient; and his
eot6er made him draw back his stool a good way.
Ttugh he could hear very well, Hugh did not like this,
, 'he slipped off his stool, and came closer and closer.
', "And did you say," asked Mr. Proctor, "that your
ibangest pupil Le nine 1"
't idst. nine ;-the age of my own boy. I could have
*ed ohiave none under ten, for the reason you know
; cried Hugh, thrusting himself in so that
.ke: aw the boy had a mind to sit on his knee,-
oin would take boys at eight and a quarter."
a'e yoir age," said Mr. Tooke, smiling and making
S~ en' en his knees.
'did you know i Mother told you."
_,3 indeed she did not,-not exactly. My boy was
:.quarter not very long ago; and he- "
like being in your school i"
jq ways seemed very happy there, though he was
ib.the youngest. And they teased him sometimes
he youngest. Now you know, if you came,
d be the youngest, and they might tease you
on'b think I should mind that. What sort of
o whether he was afraid of things."
rA of things I"
Sthe top of a wall, or up in a tree, And
Shim errands when he was tired, or when he
THE CROFTON BOYS.
wanted to be doing something else. They tried too
whether he could bear some rough things without
"And did lie "
"Yes, generally. On the whole, very well. I see they
think him a brave boy now."
"I think I could. But do not you really take boys as
young as I am T"
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 early 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
He turned rouid 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
WHY MR. TOOKE CAME.
AFTER tea the young people had to learn their lessons
fdtthe next day. They always tried to get these done,
.*a. the books put away, before Mr. Proctor came in on
$. shop being shut, and the business of the day being
shed. He liked to ind his children at liberty for a
tie> play, Or balft an hour of pleasant reading; or, in
in ter evenings, for a dance to the music of his
Lil Harry had been known to be kept up far too
-he might hear the violin, and that his papa might
p'n of seeing him run about among the rest,
binm all out, and fancying he was dancing. All
.d there would be time for play with papa to-night,
.been so much earlier than usual. But Agnes
red- there would be no play for Hugh. Though
ored% over her German, twisting her forefinger in
titular curl which she always twisted when she
biim her lessons; though Agnes rocked herself
c r, as she always did when she was learning by
6n8 though Mrs. Proctor kept Harry quiet at the
i. of the room with telling him long stories, in a
oybice, about the elephant and Brighton pier, in
bQok, Hugh could not learn his capital cities.
oke out twice, and stopped himself when he
Heads in the room raised in surprise. Then
Self to work again, and he said Copenhagen"
that he was not likely to forget the word;
atry it belonged to he could not fix in his
Agnes wrote it down large on the slate,
22 THE CROFTON BOYS.
in hopes that the sight of the letters would help him to
remember. Before he had got on to "Constantinople,'
the well-known sound was heard .of the shop-boy 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
"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. TOOK CAME. 23
once, of his another having something severe to say
n when she should come up to his room, to hear
'm ay his prayer, and .o look back a little with him
i bn the events of the day. Besides his consciousness
SOlih'' lad done nothing well this day, there were grave
1f rom his mother which made him think that she
n'ob' pleased with him. When he was undressing,
o 6, he listened with some anxiety for her footsteps,
iv'it she appeared, he was ready with his confession
e'eA; She stopped him in the beginning, saying
l 1a~ther not hear any more such confessions.
Eiid to too many,-and had allowed him to
s.Wtions some of the strength which should
led "to mending his faults. For the pre-
i''le was preparing a way to help 'him to
S inattention, she advised him to say nothing
S'~lAy7 one else, on the subject; but this need
'Ti'im from praying to God to give him
Sovercome his great fault.
l.r' another !" cried Hugh, in an agony,
I' What shall I do if you will not help
u' iled, and told"him he need not fear any
'W'ould' be very cruel to leave off providing
.a 'anW clothes, because it gave trouble to do
qd be far more cruel to abandon him to his
S reason. She would never cease to help
'vere'cured: but, as all means yet tried had
j %sh plarsome others; and meantime she did
a'o become hardened to his faults, by talking
e night, when there was no amendment
,-" TIE 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
anehow, 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. wherg he rolled Harry up in a new mat, which the
cook was going to lay at the house-door.
WTTY MR. TOOK CAME. 20
,6; 'There !" said he. Keep him fast, Hugh, till the
'& eage-door is shut. What shall we do with the rogue
'4~hen you are at Crofton, I wonder I"
'" Why, papa he will be big enough to take care of
haoself by that time."
S/Bless me F I forgot again," exclaimed Mr. Proctor,
*" made haste away into the shop.
before long, Harry was safe under the attraction of his
breadd and milk; and Hugh fell into a reverie at
,ast-table, keeping his spoon suspended in his
Looked up at the windows, without seeing any-
sked him twice to hand the butter before
kinkg how much four, times seven is," ob-
doctor : and Hugh started at the words.
yQ,u what, Hugh," continued his father; "if
people do not teach you how much four times
en you come within four weeks of next Christ-
ba]l. give you up, and them too, for dunces
I., ro.md the table were fixed on Mr. Proctor
~; 1I" said he, I have let the cat out of the
't Agnes I" and he pinched her crimson,
tn looked at Agnes, except Harry, who
'ig.for the cat which papa said had come
as work-bag. Agnes could not bear the
taken more pains to keep the secret than
.Proctor. "The secret is, that Hugh
16 THE aOBFoTON BOYS.
"Am I ten, then asked Hugh, in his hurry and
"Scarcely; since you were only eight aid a quarter
yesterday afternoon," replied his father.
I 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
s6e 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
"Well, Hugh !" said she, smiling.
"I have not learned quite down to 'Constantinople,'"
said he. "Papa told me I need not, and not to mind
"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
Then have we done with one another, Hugh T" asked
Miss Harold, gently. "Will you not learn any more
from me $
"That is for your choice, Miss Harold," observed Mir
:H MICHALMAS-DAY COME. 27
or. Hugh has not deserved the pains you have
with him: and if you decline more trouble with
'i"m now he.'is going into other hands, no one can wonder.*
-iMissHarold feared that he was but poorly prepared for
iool,and was quite ready to help him, if he would give
mind to the effort. She thought that play, or reading
,hat.he liked, was less waste of time than his com-
Wfay:,of doing his lessons; but if he was disposed
wfok, with the expectation of Croftonobefore him,
y to do her best to prepare him for the real
& would have to do there.
proposed that he should have time to con-
T would have a month's holiday, or a
';blefbre leaving home. She had to go out
!"He might go with her, if he liked; and,
id. they would sit down in the Temple
dtShe would tell him all about the plan.
ied .this beginning of his new prospects. He
e' neat for his walk with his mother. He
'have the wet curl on his forehead twice
,t.he coniforted himself with hoping that
*'otimne at Crofton for him to be kept
Shii hair done so particularly, and to be
tt6 ile, and then kissed, like a baby, at
U &LOHAELMAS-DAY COME.
Jh, to6 a&k his mother, again and again
alk, why Mr. Tooke let him go to Crofton
tenn; but Mrs. Proctor was grave and
THE CROFTON ~ OY8.
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 Hugl
looked up at his mother. She saw, and told him, what
it was that he wanted to ask.
It is on account of the little boys themselves," said
she, "that Mr. Tooke does not wish to have them very
young, now that there is no kind lady in the house who
could be like a mother to them."
"But there is Mrs. Watson. Phil has told me a 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 troubles
you are likely to have from being the'youngest."
Such as Mr. Tooke told me his boy had;-being put
on thebtop of a high wall, and plagued when he was tired:
and all that. I don't think I should much mind those
"So we hope, and so we believe. Your fault is not
Mrs. Proctor so seldom praised anybody that her words
of esteem went a great way. Hugh first looked up at her
and-then down on the grass,-his cheeks glowed so. She
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
"Yes; but not by magic. They have to give their
minds to their work. You will find it painful and diffi-
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
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
S 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, hq
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 happen at Crof-
30 THE CROFTON BOYS.
ton;-he was not afraid,-not even of the usher, though
Phil could not bear him.
"If 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 only 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 4ook 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
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.
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 Fleet-street at noon, and would set Hugh
down at his uncle's door in time for dinner, the distance
S being twenty-eight mile.e 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
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-
"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 be
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-
"Does it indeed, mother ?'
"It does indeed. But my comfort is-- "
You think I can bear it," cried Hugh, holding up
his head. "You think I can bear anything."
I think you are a brave boy, on the whole. But that
is nob 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."
I will-I always do," said Hugh, in a low voice.
Then remember this, my boy. If you have that help,
you must not fail. Knowing that you have that help, I
expect 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--"
S "And what else I" she inquired, fixing her eyes upon
"And steady," replied Hugh, casting down his eyes;
S "for that is what I want most of all."
"It 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
S 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.
"Jane," said her mother, gravely, "if you are not
mending that glove, give it to me. It is getting late." -
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
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 !
It 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
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 jalge 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
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
Scoachman; and they agreed to let Hugh sit between
them, on the assurance that the driver would look to his
concerns, and see that he was set down at the right
"Now, my boy, up with you !" said his father, as he
turned from speaking to these men. Hugh was so eager,
that he put up his foot to mount, without remembering
to bid his mother and sisters good-bye. Mr. Proctor
laughed at this; and 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 waA
come, Mr. Proctor swung himself up by the step, to say
one tling more. It was-
THE CROFTON BOYS.
I say, Hugh,-can you tell me,-how much is four
times seven I"
Mrs. Proctor pulled her husband's coat-tail, and he
leaped down, the horses' feet scrambled, their heads
issued 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 began 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," observed the first.
"I never say it when I cam help it," said Hugh; "and
I see no occasion now."
The men laughed, and then asked him if he was
"To Crofton. I am going to be a Crofton boy," said
A what ? Where is he going ?" his companions
asked one another over his head. They were no wiser
when Hugh repeated what he had said; nor could the
coachman enlighten them. He only knew that he was
to put the boy down at Shaw's, the great miller's, near
thirty miles along the road.
"Eight-and-twenty," said Hugh, in correction; "and
Crofton is two miles from my uncle's."
MICHAELMAS-DAY COME. 37
"Eight-and-twenty. The father's joke lies there," ob-
served the right-hand man.
S "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
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
S 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,-the sixpence he wa to give the coachman
when he was set down.
Then he went on to explain that this sixpence 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
abopt 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 hiMn. 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
made him start.
MICHAELMAS-DAY COME. 39
"Why, there's Phil!" he exclaimed, jumping to his
"This is Shaw's mill, and there is Shaw; which
is all I have to do with," said the coachman, as he
Hugh was soon down, with his uncle and Phil, and one
of the men from the mill to help. His aunt was at thu
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
"I 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
Lest you find a hole in your pocket, here is a sixpence
for you," cried the right-hand passenger, tossing him his
own sixpence. "Thank you for teaching us the secret
of such a curious pocket."
The coachman was impatient, got his money, and drove
off, leaving Hugh to make out why he had been tickled,
and how his money had changed hands. With a very red
face, he declared it was too bad of the man: but the man
was out of his hearing, and could never know how angry
* "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 I1 lie never told me."
Hugh could hardly speak to his uncle and aunt, lie
was so taken up with trying to remember what he had
said, in the usher's hearing, of the usher himself, utnd
everybody at Crofton.
MRS. SHAW 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
cry that his uncle observed his twitching face, and. with-
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 lie 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 at a distant fair in good
time. Mr. Shaw spun out his story, so that Hugh quite
recovered himself, and laughed as much as anybody 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 they 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.
I hope you will find time to help Hugh up from the
bottom, in a class or two," said Mr. Shaw. You will
not be too busy about your own affairs to look to hiA
43 THE CROFTON BOYS.
"Where is the use of my meddling 7" said Phil. "He
can't rise for years to come. Besides---"
"Why can't I rise?" exclaimed Hugh, with glowing
"That is right, Hugh," said his uncle. "Let nobody
prophesy for you till you show what you can do."
Why, uncle, he is nearly two years younger than any
boy in the school; and- "
"And there is little Page above you in algebra. He
is about two years younger than you, Phil, if I remember
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! I am 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
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
Mrs. Shaw told Hugh that she hoped ho would spend
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 recognized 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.
"I say; hollo there !" cried one. Is that Prater you
have got with you V
"Prater the second," cried another. "He could not
have had his name if there had not been Prater the
"There! there's a scrape you have got me into
alrcady!" muttered Phil.
"Be a man, Phil, and bear your own share," said Mr.
Shaw "and no spite, because your words come back to
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 I"
"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
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
Mr. Tooke was out, taking his evening ride; but Mr.
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
MICIIAELMAS-DAY OVER. 45
a number of rough boys. Mrs. Watson smiled kindly at
Hugh, and said she was glad he had a brother in the
school, to prevent his feeling lonely at first. It would
not take many days, she hoped, to make him feel quite
at home. Mr. Shaw slipped half-a-crown into Hugh's
hand, and whispered to him to try to keep it safe in
his inner pocket. Hugh ran after hin to the door, to
tell him that he had five shillings already-safe in hi3
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
"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
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 see
your collar awry-and every time you go to your aunt's,
she will think we do not make you neat. I must see
about that. Here are good stockings, however-pro-
perly stout. My dear, are these all the shoes you have
I have a pair on."
0 TTHE 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.
SWatson called his attention to Hugh; and Hugh stood
up and made his bow. His face was red, as much with
anger as timidity, when he recognized 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
"There is always the multiplication-table," replied
Mr. Carnaby. The young gentleman is partial to that,
Hugh reddened, and applied -himself to his bread and
"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 cry-
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
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 said, so as
to be heard as far as the usher,-
"Who prated of Prater the second? Who is Prater
the third I"
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 I Don't hurt him so !"
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
"Because you have not my secret about four times
"Did not I hear your father ? Eh T"
"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
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 a
minute; and wvhen 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
DU THE CROFTON BOYS.
coming for the light, and would leave him in the dark,
and report of him if he was not in bed. So Hugh made a
great splutter, and did not half dry his face, and left the
water in the basin;-a thing which they told him was
not 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 mzst
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
hMICHAELMAS-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
0 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
of me 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
After a long while, as it seemed to him, though it was
only an hour, there was a light and some bustle in the
room. It was Phil and two others coming to bed.
"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 laughed; and Phil asked whether he had
not seen the bell, as he came; and what it should be for
but to ring everybody up in the morning.
"But I might not hear it," pleaded Hugh.
"Not hear it 1 You'll soon see that."
S"Well, but you will see that I really do wake, wont
52 TIIE CROFTON BOYS.
"Thebell will take care of that, I tell you,' was all be
could get from Phil.
duoaG 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 -Imost
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,
~o 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 their a 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.
"There will be prayers in the school-room. You must
be in time for them," said Phil. "You had better come
Do wait one moment, while I just comb my hair."
Phil fidgeted, and others giggled, while Hugh tried to
part his hair, as Susan had taught him. He gave it up,
and left it rough, thinking he would come up and do it
when there was nobody there to laugh at him.
The school-room looked chilly and dull, as there was no
sunshine in it till the afternoon; and still Mr. Tooke was
not there, as Hugh had hoped he would be. Mrs. Watson
and the servants came in for prayers, which- were well
read by the usher ; and then everybody went to business :
-everybody but Hugh and Holt, who had nothing to do.
Class after class came up for repetition; and this 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
"Sit! O! I suppose you must have a desk, though
you have nothing to put in it. If there is a spare desk,
you shall have it: if not, we will find a corner for you
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 as a big one.
And the usher called the oldest boy in the school, and
asked him to see if there was a desk for little Proctor
There was: and Hugh put into it his two or three
CROFTON PLAY. 53
. school-books, and his slate; and felt that he was now
indeed a Crofton boy. Then, the t-sher 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. Watsonwould 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 longwhile.
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
68 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
a sum, 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
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
oIl 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 ran after him, and
roughly stopped him, saying he would get into a fine
scrape for the first day, if he went out of bounds.
Hugh had forgotten there were such things as bounds,
and was not at all glad to be reminded of them now.
He sighed as he begged Phil to show him exactly where
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. Just as 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
He ran away from the laughing boys, and went quite
B TTHE 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 ovei 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
over 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 something to do. This pre-
sently brought him to a tree which stood on the very
boundary, its trunkserving 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
Well, this is a good one to begin with. I'll lend you
a hand; shall I I"
"Thank you, sir."
"Don't call me, sir.' I'm only a schoolboy, like you.
I am Dan Firth. Call me Firth, as I am the only one of
the name here. You are little Proctor, I think-Proctor's
"Yes: but, Firth, I shall pull you down, if I slip."
"Not you: but I'll come down, and so send you up
CROFTON PLAY. oU
.my seat, which is the safest to begin with. Stand
Firth swung himself down, and then, showing Hugh
there to plant his feet, and propping him when he wanted
She soon seated him on the fork, and laughed good-
,turedly when Hugh waved his cap over his head, on
sion of being up in a tree. He let him get down
mnd up again several times, till he could do it quite alone,
and felt that he might have a seat here whenever it was
mot occupied by any one else.
While Hugh sat in the branches, venturing to leave
oldwith one hand, that he might fan his hot face with
hs cap, Firth stood on the rail of the palings, holding
y the tree, and talking to him. Firth told him that
ihis was the only tree the boys were allowed.to climb,
iince Ned Reeve had fallen from the great ash, and hurt
s spine. He showed what trees he had himself climbed
Before that accident; and it made Hugh giddy to think
Of being within eight feet of the top of the lofty elm in
the church-yard, which Firth had thought nothing of
i "Did anybody teach you '" asked Hugh.
"Yes; my father taught me to climb, when I was
younger than you."
And had you anybody to teach you games and things,
when you came here T"
". No: but I had learned a good deal of that before I
came; and so I soon fell into the ways here. Have you
anybody to teach you 9"
No- yes-- why, no. I thought Phil would have
showed me things; but he does not seem to mind me at
all." .And Hugh bit his lip, and fanned himself faster.
60 THE CROFTON BOYS.
"Ah he attends to you more than you think."
"Does he I Then why- but what good does it do
What good? His holding off makes you push your
own way. It lets you make friends for yourself."
"I have no friends here," said Hugh.
"Yet, you have. Here am I. You would not have had
me, if you had been at Proctor's heels at this moment."
"Will you be my friend, then I"
"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
"But how can I, if- if "
"Once show your spirit,-prove that you can shift for
yourself, and you will find Phil open out wonderfully.
He and you will forget all his shyness then. Once show
him that he need not be ashamed of you "
"Ashamed of me 1" cried Hugh, firing up.
"Yes. Little boys are looked upon as girls in a school
till they show that they are little men. And then again,
you have been brought up with girls,-have not you "
"To be sure; and so was he."
And half the boys here, I dare say. Well, they are
called Bettys till--"
CROFTON PLAT. 61
"I am not a Betty," cried Hugh, flashing again.
"They suppose you are, because you part your hair, and
as you have been used to do at home."
"What business have they. with my hair t I might as
tellcall them Bruins for wearing theirs shaggy."
S"Very true. They will let you and your hair alone
hen they see what you are made of; and then Phil.
"He will own me when I don't want it; and now,
hen he might help me, there he is, far off, never caring
out what becomes of me 1"
"0 yes, he does. lie is watching you all the time.
ou and he will have it all out some day before Christ-
s, and then you will see how he really cares about you.
Really your hair is very long,-too like a girl's. Shall I
it it for you?"
"I should like it," said Hugh, "but I don't want the
ys to think I am afraid of them ; or to begin giving
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,
sM the feeling of loneliness went off. But the rooks do
iot 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 I"
We go long walks on Saturday afternoons; out you
dd not expect to see young lambs in October, do you I"
I forgot. I never can remember the seasons for
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 I 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
"How long ? Till when?"
"Ah till when? What next! What do you mean
to be afterwards ?"
A soldier, or a sailor, or a great traveller, or some-
thing of that kind. I mean to go quite round the world,
like Captain Cook."
"Then you will come home, proud of having been
round the world; and you will meet with some old
neighbour who boasts of having spent all his life in the
house he was born in."
"pld Mr. Dixon told mother that of himself, very
lately. Oh dear, how often does the postman come T"
"You want a letter from home, do you ? But you left
them only yesterday morning."
"I 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."
"0 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
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 T" cried Hugh. 0 dear I
64 THE CROFTON BOYS.
something very terrible must have happened. How that
boy is screaming!"
"It is only Lamb again," replied Firth. "You will
soon get used to his screaming. He is a very passionate
boy-I never saw such a passionate fellow."
"But what are they doing to him I"
"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
And he jumped down from the paling, ann 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 right arm out of the ground, and was
CROFTON PLAY. 65
strikingg everywhere within reach. Then he saw Firth
dragged down and away, while the boys made a circle
round Lamb, putting a foot or hand within his reach, and
I then snatching it away again, till the boy yelled with
rage at the mockery.
Hugh could look on no longer. He scrambled down
from the tree, scampered to the spot, burst through the
throng, and seized Lamb's hand. Lamb struck him a
heavy blow, taking him for an enemy; but Hugh cried
"I am your friend," seized his hand again, and tugged
till he was first red and then black in the face, and till
Lamb had worked his shoulders out of the hole, and
seemed likely to have the use of his other arm in a 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-
Sthey 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 scrambled to his feet
again, as often as he was thrown down; and in a few
minutes he had plenty of support. Phil was taking his
part, and shielding him from many blows. Firth had got
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 of 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
furning and stamping, Hugh gazing 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,
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-
"I don't know what made you help me, but I will
never be in a passion with you :-unless you put me out,
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 i 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.
I'm your friend, at any rate."
UGHu'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 M7
Tooke's mouth the words which were oftenest heard from
66 THE CROFTON BOYS.
him, "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 wafer 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 waistooat 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 oter.
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 repealing to himself, earnestly and with-
out pause ; and presently the business was done, and the
learner at ease, feeling confident that he was ready to
meet his master. After double the time had passed,
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
THE CROFTON DOYS.
did now try hard; but he seemed to get only head.
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 began 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 foi 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 it 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
mRST :EA BL. 71
netimes refrained from saying so, whatever he might
:s; but there really was very little difference in the
krult, whether Phil heard the lessons beforehand or not;
sad it gave Joe Cape a great advantage over Phil that
Shad no little brother to attend to. Considering how
jelfsh rivalship is apt to make boys (and even men), it
as perhaps no wonder that Phil sometimes kept out of
pugh's way at the right hour, saying to himself that his
poper business was to do his lessons, and get or keep
'Ahead of Joe Cape; and that Hugh must take his chance,
pnd 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
lone, or he would oftener have asked Firth to help
.Firth, too, had plenty of work of his own to do.
fore than once, however, Firth met the little lad, wan-
tdering about, with his grammar in his hand, in search of
the hidden Phil; 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 lessons
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
pear them watching how they got on, and making re
'marks upon them. One day, Mr. Tooke was called oit
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 held 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.
"I declare I can't learn my lesson-'tis too bad !"
"'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
"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 ginning mask, and his lesson did not
get on. Besides, a piece of wet sponge lighted on the
very page he was learning from. He looked up fiercely,
to see who had thrown it. It was no other than Tooke,
who belonged to that class :-it was Tooke, to judge by
his giggle, and his pretending to hide his face, as if
ashamed. Hugh tossed back the sponge, so as to hit
looke on the nose. Then Tooke was angry, and threw
it again, 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
uld. 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 no longer
by his side. In a moment, Holt returned to hir 3eat,
flushed and out of breath. A very slight hiss wt, Aeard
from every form near, as he came down the room.
0 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,-
Sand 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 c-n-
tinued, seeing the terror that Holt was in.
"I meant no harm," said Holt, trembling. "Was not
Sit 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,
THE BROFTON BOYS.
"Mr. Tooke, sir."
Here Holt sprang from his desk, and ran to the ushei
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. If there were boys who could not be
trusted while his back was turned, they must be made
to remember him when he washout of sight, by punish-
ment. Page must remain in school after hours, to
learn twenty lines of Virgil; Davison twenty; Tooke
Here everybody looked round to see how Tooke bore
his father being so angry with him.
"Please, sir," cried one boy, "I saw little Proctor
throw a sponge at Tooke. He did it twice."
Never mind!" answered Tooke. "I threw it at him
first. It is my sponge."
And Warner," continued the master, as if he had
not heard the interruption, "considering that Warner
FIRST RAMBLE. 7'
Was got off too easily for many pranks of late,-Warner
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 him-
"Not a word of intercession for those boys 7" said the
master. I will not hear a wotd in their favour."
"Then, sir- "
"I only want to say, then, that Proctor told no tales,
sir. I did not mean any harm, sir, but I told, be-
"Never mind that," cired Hugh, afraid that he would
now be telling of Harvey, Prince, and Gillingham, who
had persuaded him to go up.
I have nothing to do with that. That is your affair,"
said the master, sending the boys back to their seats.
Poor Holt had cause to rue this morning, for long
after. He was weary of the sound of hissing, and of the
name tell-tale;" and the very boys who had prompted him
to go up were at first silent, and then joined against hin.
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 i 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. Eight times seven did, and he said
"fifty-six" with great satisfaction. Mr. Carnaby asked
him afterwards the dreaded question, but he was on his
guard; and as he answered it right, and the usher had
not found out the joke, he hoped he should hear no more
of the matter.
The next Saturday was fine, and at last he was to have
the walk he longed for. The weekly 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
'Either and thither, not knowing what to do with his
Spirits. Firth called him, and putting his arm round
SHgh'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
"Dale has a sister at a school not far off, and her name
is Amelia; and she came to see him to-day. Ah! you
have not found out yet that boys are laughed at about
their sisters, particularly if the girls have fine names."
What a shame !" .cried Hugh; words which he had
used very often already since he came to Crofton.
He broke from Firth, ran up to Dale, and said to him,
in a low voice, "I have two sisters, and one of them is
Don't let them come to see you, then, or these fellows
will quiz you as they do me. As if I could help having
a sister Amelia !"
S"Why, you are not sorry for that ? You would not
Wish your sister dead, or not born, would you T"
"No; but I wish she was not hereabouts: that is, I
r8 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."
I only wish Agnes would come," cried Hugh, and 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 !"
"I 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 7" said Dale.
"Is it I never thought pf that," replied Hugh.
"What is his real name 7"
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 tke 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 RA'BLE. 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 nolbdy'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 cow 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 D
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 bottle and a glass, and a heap of
things which were probably meant for cakes, as there
were cakes in the window. Here Lamb turned in, and
the woman seemed to know him well. She smiled, and
closed the door behind the three boys, and asked them to
sit down: but Lamb said there was no time for that to.
day,-she must be quick. He then told the boys that
they would have some ginger-beer.
"But may we 9" 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 RAIMBLE. bl
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
in settling 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
had done : 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
each one. Lamb put some in his pocket, and advised the
others to do the same, as they had no time to spare. He
kept some room in his pocket, however, for some plums;
/ and told the boys that they might carry theirs in their
handkerchiefs, or in their caps, if they would take care to
have finished before they came within sight of the usher.
He then asked the woman to let them out upon the heath
through her garden gate; and she said she certainly
would when they had paid. She then stood drumming
with her fingers upon the table, and looking through the
window, as if waiting.
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 youl
You don't think people give away their good things, I
suppose! Come,-where's your half-crown I 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
till the ripest plums burst, and wetted the linings, they
FIRST RAMBLE. 83
not dispose of them all; and they were obliged to
Sway a good many.
Hugh went in search of his new friend, and drew him
from the rest to relate his trouble. Dale wondered
had not found out Lamb before this, enough to refuse
follow his lead. Lamb would never pay a penny.
0 always spent the little money he had upon good
gs, the first day or two; and then he got what he
d out of any one who was silly enough to trust him.
SBut," said Hugh, "the only thing we had to do with
h 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
Spay me, when he knows how much I want a comb."
"rHe will tell you to buy it out of your five shillings.
You let him know you had five shillings in Mrs. Watson's
Yes; but he knows how I mean to spend that,-
ror presents to carry home at Christmas. But I'll never
tell him anything again. Oh! Dale! do you really
nkhe 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
re can get any nuts."
" Hugh did not at all succeed in his endeavours to forget
his adventure. 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
Tear of Hugh's speaking to Mrs. Watson or the usher,
ihat prevented his saying outright that he should not
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. It 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 mind was 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
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 CRODTON BOYS.
Watson's parlour,-the comfortable, quiet place wheur
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; ancdwhen she heard what part
Lamb had played towards the little boys, she thought it
right to tell Mr. Tooke. Mr. Tooke said nothing till
Holt was in the school again, which was on 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. 87
ugh was to be paid. He probably thought it best for
e boys to take the consequences of their folly in losing
.eir money. He handed the little boys over to Mr.
JUrnaby to be caned-" To make them remember," as he
id; though they themselves were pretty sure they should
aever forget. Lamb was kept to be punished by the
'pB.ter himself. Though Lamb knew he should be severely
Logged, and though he was the most cowardly boy in the
school, he did not suffer so much as Hugh did in the pro-
rV.ct of being caned-being punished at all Phil, who
gpew his brother's face well, saw, as he passed down the
:pNom, how miserable he was-too miserable to cry; and
;Pbil 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,
4.,It is not that."
t. No-it was not the pain. It was the being punished
in open school, and when he did not feel that he deserved
i4t How should he know where Lamb was taking him I
*How should he know that the ginger-beer was to be paid
for, and that he was to pay ? Heeelt 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
'as treated. He had felt his mother hard sometimes;
but what had she eier done to him compared with this?
.It was well he thought of his mother. At the first
moment, the picture of home in his mind nearly made
him cry-the thing of all others he most wished to
avoid while so many eyes were on him; but the remem-
brance of what his mother expected of him-her look -
when she told him he must not fail, gave him courage.
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 plague Dale a little. He therefore
summoned him, and desired him to go, and bring him a
switch, to cane these boys with.
"I 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
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
FIRST RAMBLE. 89
t sort of a switch would next appear. Dale entered,
Sgg a straw.
"I think this will not be too stout, sir,"
Everybody laughed but Hugh-even Holt.
There was that sneer about Mr. Carnaby's nose which
e everybody sorry now for Dale: but everybody
arted, Mr. Carnaby and all, at Mr. Tooke's voice, close
Sand. How much he had seen and heard, there was
knowing; but it was enough to make him look ex-
r "Are these boys not caned yet, Mr. Carnaby?"
"No, sir;-I have not-I- "
"Have they been standing here all this while 1"
"Yes,sir. I have no cane, sir. I have been sending -"
." I ordered them an immediate caning, Mr. Carnaby,
nd not mental torture. School is up," he declared to
he boys at large. You may go-you have been punished
enough," he said to the little boys. Mr. Carnaby, have
he goodness to remain a moment."
And the large room was speedily emptied of all but
the master, the usher, and poor Lamb.
S"The usher will catch it now," observed some boys, as
Lithe master himself shut the door behind them. "He
will get well paid for his spite."
-"What will be done to him I" asked Hugh of Dale,
?whom he loved fervently for having saved him from
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 I"
Never mind what: he wont be here long, they say.
0U THE CBOFTON 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 down to the main road, and seemed
to be looking out. At last he hailed the London coach.
Hugh and Dale could see from their perch. The coach
stopped, the gardener ran back, met Mr. Carnaby under
the chesnuts, relieved him of his portmanteau, and helped
him to mount the coach.
Is he going ? Gone for good I" 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.
WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME.
r1UGH 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, and'
proved to him that study might be interesting out of
school. When Dale had a theme to write, the two boys
often walked up and down the 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
sz 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,
ws the new usher, of whom, it was said, Mr. Tooke
thought so highly as to choose to wait for him, could notr
come before that time. Of course, with so much upon his-1
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 hie
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 really 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, when the master was giving a
subject and directions for an English theme to Dale's
class. The subject was the Pleasures of Friendship. In
a moment Hugh thought of Damon and Pythias, 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
was in seich a glow, he was sure he could write a
eme. He ran after Mr. Tooke when school was
,and asked whether he might write a theme with
e's class. When Mr. Tooke found he knew what
meant by writing a theme, he said he might try,
he neglected nothing for it, and wrote every word of it
self, without consultation with any one.
Hugh scampered away to tell Dale that they must not
Over this theme together, as they were both to do it;
d then, instead of playing, he went to his desk, and
ote upon his slate till it was quite full. He had to
brrow two slates before he had written all he had to say.
ruled his paper for him; but before he had copied
e page, his neighbours wanted their slates back again,-
ad they must have them, and rubbed out all he had
written. Much of the little time he had was lost in this
ay, and he grew wearied. He thought at first that his
eme would be very beautiful: but he now began to
doubt whether it would be worth anything at all; and he
as vexed to have tired himself with doing what would
nly make him laughed at. The first page was well
written out,-the Confirmation being properly separated
m the Proposition: but he had to write all the latter
rt 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.'
a line; but he only made a hole in the paper, and was
obliged to let the line stand. Then he found he had
'strangely forgotten to put in the chief thing of all,-
about friends telling one another of their faults,-though,
on consideration, he was not sure that this was one of
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 verybadly.
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 been great faults in a copy-book, but
were of less consequence than other things in a theme.
Time and pains would correct slovenliness of that kind;
and the thoughts and language were good. Hugh was
almost out of his wits with delight; so nearly so
that he spoiled his own pleasure completely. He could
not keep his happiness to himself, or his 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.
"I only want to tell you one thing," cried Hugh; and
he repeated exactly what Mr. Tooke had said of his theme.
Mrs. Watson laughed, and the maids laughed, and Hugh
left them, angry with them, but more angry with 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.
SDale 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.
It 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. I don't believe anybody
at Crofton cares a bit about me-cares whether I get on
well or ill-except Dale. If I take pains and succeed,
they only laugh at me."
Ah! you don't understand school and schoolboys yet,"
replied Firth. To do a difficult lesson well is a grand
affair at home, and the whole house knows of it. But it
is the commonest thing in the world here. If you
learn to feel with these boys, instead of expecting them
to feel with you (which they cannot possibly do), you will
soon find that they care for you accordingly."
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.
"I don't care about that," said Hugh. "I give it all
up. There is nothing but injustice here."
Nothing but injustice Pray, am I unjust "T
"No-not you-not so far. But-"
"Is Mr. Tooke unjust I"
"Pray how, and when r"
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
j praise such a theme again. Meantime, how you can boast
of his praise, if you think it unjust, is the wonder
So it is to me now. I wish I had never asked to do
that theme at all," cried Hugh, again stretching himself
to got rid of his shame. "But why did Mr. Tooke order
me to be caned I 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."
THE COoFT6N 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
"What, Holt 2"
"Yes, Holt. I fancy the thought in his mind at this
moment is that you are the most unjust person at
"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."