Two Little Runaways
"A TREMENDOUS UPROAR ENSUED."
Two Little Runaways
By James Buckland
With Numerous Illustrations by CECIL ALDIN
Longmans, Green, and Co.
39 Paternoster Row, London
New York and Bombay
All rights rriervd
Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON Co.
At the Ballantyne Press
f, ,11 '* I i
7- : j e-
T HIS tale is adapted from "Les Aventures
de Jean-Paul Choppart," par Louis Des-
noyers, chez J. J. Dubochet & Cie., 33 Rue
de Seine, Paris, 1843.
While fully acknowledging the large debt I owe
to the original, I may mention that many incidents
viii Prefatory Note
and numerous personages have been added to the
present work. Moreover, the characters of several
of those who figure prominently have been altered
considerably. That of the showman has been trans-
formed. I have also thought it advisable to change
the names throughout.
I should add, in conclusion, that Mr. Cecil Aldin
visited Normandy in order to make himself familiar
with the scenes which form the background of this
Prefatory Note vii
I. Paul 3
II. The Arrest 17
III. The Trial 32
IV. In Prison 42
V. Jimmy 50
VI. Family Distress 62
VII. Flight and Pursuit 68
VIII. The Fair 78
The Little Wonder
Grand Performance (Part I.)
Grand Performance (Part II.)
Words, Words, Words
Prefatory Note .
T P T ,
st oJ Illustrations x.
ul .. 2
"Beguiling good little
boys to play truant" 5
S" To come in violent
"/ contact with elderly
S gentlemen ". 6
"Gambled at chuch-
street urchins" 7
xii List of Illustrations
" He emptied the contents of an ink-bottle into the parental hat" 9
" Whatfollowed, I leave you to imagine"
" At the end of which he remained hanging" 18
" He was about to step off" 23
I expect it grew like that" 25
"The dog had him 28
The arrest 30
" Fixed a stern look upon theprisoner" 33
" Tipped him a crafty wink 36
" The policeman entered with his supper" 44
"Looked fearfully in the direction of the door" 48
" Spun round in a succession of' cart-wheels' 53
" Now or never was their chance 60
" Caught the dog on the nose" 61
"A great barking and rushing about of dogs" 65
" With a knowing look 67
" So great was their terror, they mistook every old woman they saw
holding a cow by a string in the fields for Roybon and the
terrible Nipper" 69
Considerably astonished his assailant" .72
Stumping along the dusty road" .77
The Fair. ..79
List of Illustrations
' An unmistakable villain" .
' The monkey had him by the nose"
' Transformed into a battle-field" .
r1 You got fitted! "
' In momentary expectation of being drowned"
* I'm the miller" .
Mrs. Buxy .
' Sending up sacks" .
"Hardships of their employment" .
' In a large tub of water .
* The strains of brazen instruments"
The Marquis de la Galimatias
"* An ungrateful young bear"
' Condition of the menagerie" .
' The admiration of the gaping villagers"
" Extremely rare .
" Coriolanus .
" 'Av yer nabbed 'em ? "
" A racoon which had lost its tail"
"' Like a house taking a morning stroll"
' Fields passed" .
List of Illustrations
" Fair share of the hard work "
" Waggons passed"
" Through the little sliding door" .
" Satisfaction" .
" One of thefinest musicians of the age"
" Set on edge the teeth of the lynx"
" The Sylphid Sisters "
" Hjinksi, the Japanese juggler .
"Dozens of little boys hurry away "
" Recounting the product of her hens "
"Enter Loon" .
" Acasa bojador draa "
" The Fly-catcher "
" The Little Wonder"
" Drove away the fy "
"Encounter with a literary lady "
" Brought down the rain "
"In rueful contemplation"
"Rebounded and tripped over a rope "
" The music which heralded her coming"
" A ticking somewhere "
"Dropped the flag"
List of Illustrations
"A very interesting object"
"A woman with pressed lips
SWith such agility "
SReturned with his captive"
"From allpoints of the compass"
"Having made his selection" .
" Two wild beasts abroad in the street"
" Making everything fly at their approach "
" The horses slowly coming and going"
"Going for an afternoon stroll?"
"In the ordinary garb of peasants "
"Preparation of the elixir"
"Satisfied with the size of the crowd"
"Cure the Empress "
"To tumble from the top"
"Poured down his royaljaws" .
"The magic crystal" .
" Ejectedfrom their blazing abode "
" Cacus and Ceculus"
" Seized him by the coat-tails"
"A subject offascination "
"The gipsy woman"
List of Illustrations
" Ajly gets on your nose"
" Never were people in such a hurry "
"A better boy ". .
" Toiled along the miry road"
"Lingered about closed kitchen doors"
"Found it dificult to recover herself"
"' Mute with astonishment" .
" The audience "
Two Little Runaways
MASTER PAUL STEENVOORDE had
two sisters-a somewhat unlucky thing
for the poor little girls; but he had no
brothers-a very fortunate circumstance for them.
To be plain, Paul was a boy who was most agree-
able to those people who had never met him.
His appearance alone suggested an unruly
character-and appearances, for once, were not de-
ceitful. He showed his love of glorious freedom
by refusing to allow his hair to be subjected to the
tyranny of brush and comb. He never burdened
himself with the conventional absurdity of a neck-
tie, and, judging from the state of his hands, he
might have been born in Bulgaria and have passed
his days in unwashed bliss. His attire likewise
betokened a slovenly disregard of the usages of
civilisation. His clothes, no matter how new, were
4 Paul is Petted Beyond all Measure
soon torn and plastered with mud. His stockings
were invariably down about his heels, and he ap-
peared to think that shoes were made only to be
trodden into slippers. Lastly, his trousers were
always coming down for want of braces, the elastic
of which he used for making catapults.
Not that at bottom Paul was really a bad boy,
but, unfortunately for his own sake, he had been
suffered to enjoy liberty and privileges ill-suited to
his temperament. He had been allowed to grow
to the age of nine years without any restraining
influences except those of his foolishly indulgent
parents. His father-a large-hearted and open-
handed old gentleman, whose good deeds had won
for him the respect of every one in and about
Louviers, in Normandy, in which peaceful old
town he lived-had a theory that to correct a child
was to crush the love of innocent delights. The
result of such a training was to make the boy
an impertinent young Goth. When reproved, he
hummed tunes or answered with a jeering word.
When scolded, he disrespectfully requested to be
informed whose fault it was he had come into the
He had the capacity, but no inclination, to learn.
He strolled into school-as a young man about
town might stroll into his club-at any hour which
And Becomes Unbearably Undutiful 5
'BEGUILING GOOD LITTLE BOYS TO PLAY TRUANT.
'BEGUILING GOOD LITTLE BOYS TO PLAY TRUANT."
suited his fancy, being always the bearer of a
maternal missive saying that he was not to be
caned. In consequence, he had been returned
without thanks from every school in the district.
Satisfaction for imaginary wrongs being the first
law of his savage little nature, he revenged himself
on the masters by lying in wait, and, by artful
practices, beguiling good little boys to play truant.
Then he coolly and meanly allowed his innocent
victims to be punished for the offence which should
6 His Various Pleasant Pastimes
have been laid at his own door, the guileless ex-
pression he was able to assume at will placing him
beyond the reach of suspicion.
He was so full of mischievous tricks that it was
quite a relief to avoid him.
He found much delight in dashing round corners,
to come, as if by accident, in violent contact with
elderly gentlemen with a tendency to stomach.
Another diversion of his was to stealthily creep
behind nervous old ladies, to seize them by the
ankles, and to mimic the yap of a snappish little cur.
"TO COME IN VIOLENT CONTACT WITH ELDERLY GENTLEMEN.
His Shameful Character 7
He welcomed any sort of disreputable excitement,
but most of all a street-fight, although he himself
was discreet enough to follow the advice of Polonius
and to regard with caution entrance to a quarrel.
He gambled at "chuck-farthing" with street-
urchins, and did many other wicked things which
GAMBLED AT 'CHUCK-FARTHING' WITH STREET-URCHINS."
would have horrified his father had he known ot
He knew the situation of every apple-tree in the
neighbourhood, the facilities the locality offered for
being approached unobserved, and the advantages
it afforded of escape should a hasty retreat become
He never saw a stray cat without succumbing
8 Enormity of His Ofences
to the promptings of a desire to ascertain if his aim
with a stone was true.
In frosty weather it was a favourite pastime of
his to make a slide in the yard, and, propping a
sister against the wall at either end, to use them as
In the hot days of summer he delighted to
indulge in the sport of "sacks-on-the-mill," a plea-
sant game-played preferably immediately after a
meal-which consisted chiefly in knocking down his
weaker sisters and in throwing himself heavily upon
He even gratified his insatiable fondness for
practical jokes by playing them off on no less a
person than his worthy father.
He emptied the contents of an ink-bottle into
the parental hat as it stood on the hall-table, with
the delicious result-for the boy-that, when Mr.
Steenvoorde placed it on his head, his face became
in an instant as black as that of an Ethiop.
He secreted a frog in the old gentleman's ser-
viette. Consequently, when the latter pulled open
the immaculate folds, down fell the amphibian into
his plate. The association of this member of the
Batrachia with eatables is, I know, not utterly irre-
levant. But the connection loses its beauty when
the former is alive and flops into the soup at table.
His Want of Filial Piety
HE EMPTIED THE CONTENTS OF AN INK-BOTTLE INTO THE
Besides, it was not very nice for the frog.
At other times, when his father was about to
sally forth in all the purity of a clean suit of duck,
Paul, armed with a syringe filled with ink, would
hide behind the door, to plentifully besprinkle the
io A Victim of His Petty Annoyance
expanse of snow-white back as it went out at the
The great butt, however, for the boy's impish
pranks was his aunt, a patient and sweet-tempered
little woman who looked as though she had had to
face more than her fair share of the world's storms.
Indeed, the relation of her sorrowful history will
cast, as it were, the shadow of a passing cloud upon
this page. Her husband had been shot in Africa
during a skirmish with the natives. He was a poor
man, and his widow and child were left almost
destitute. Mr. Steenvoorde at once hastened to
her relief. If the husband of her sister is not her
most natural protector," he cried, out of the good-
ness of his heart, "then will some one please tell
me who is ?" From that day she had resided
under his hospitable roof. Only once had she left
it-some five years since-to take a flying visit to
Paris in connection with the settlement of her late
husband's affairs. During that visit her child had
been stolen from her-kidnapped as she stood at
noon among a crowd in the gardens of the Palais
Royal to watch the sun fire the little cannon which
is kept there for that purpose.
Returning to her brother-in-law, she murmured,
her pale face lit for the moment by a smile of
pathetic tenderness, I am a very little woman, and
His Refractory Conduct i
need only solitude for my sorrow. I shall be in
no one s way.
Renouncing all future for herself, she took up
her life again for the sake of a brat who did not
show an atom of affection, or even of respect, in
return. Patient and watchful, mindful always of his
joys and sorrows, she lavished on Paul all the
yearning love of a mother's heart.
Often this dear, self-sacrificing woman, bitterly
grieved to see the boy's wicked behaviour, and
longing to teach him to be good, would take down
her Family Bible, and read to him words which
should have touched the heart of any child, no
matter how naughty.
But these intended benefits were ill-requited by
Paul. He refused to listen, declaring that he hated
to be good, it was "so plaguy dull."
You should be sent to bed when you talk like
that," she would say, happily unconscious of the
grimace the young imp made in reply.
Although he refused to listen to the words of
wisdom, the coloured pictures in the Book interested
him, especially those which portrayed the killing
of good men. But he was forbidden to touch it
when by himself. The state of his hands, which
were covered with several layers of dirt, one over
another, like so many coats of paint, suggested the
S2 His Mischievous Powers of InPention
propriety of putting at least this restriction upon
his otherwise unfettered actions.
The embargo was alone sufficient to awaken the
antagonism of the boy.
He had crept to his aunt's room one day, and
was gloating over the stoning of St. Stephen, when
the little lady returned unexpectedly.
"Oh, aunty!" cried the young reprobate. "God's
lent me His Book. Isn't it kind of Him ? "
Needless to say, Paul was always at war with
the servants. By way of venting his spleen upon
them, he concocted such defaming stories that over
and over again they were bundled out of the house
at a moment's notice. Whereat he would hurl after
the retreating figures the defiant hoot of a victorious
No matter how culpable he was in committing
acts of folly or breakages both of which were
hourly occurrences-he would never admit he was
to blame. It was his father's fault, his mother's
fault, his sisters' fault, his aunt's fault, or the fault of
one of the servants, but never his own fault-whose
fault it really was.
Daily his delinquencies increased. At length
the members of the household became as anxious
and fearful of what was going to happen next as
though they lived over a dynamite factory.
General Discomforture and Misery 13
But dark clouds were brewing in Paul's sky.
"Sybil!" he said one day to the elder of his
sisters, "you can't think how awfully jolly it is in
this cupboard. Do come and try."
Sybil innocently walked straight into the trap.
Instantly Paul slipped out and locked the door,
leaving his sister in the stuffy little den without
light, and with scarcely sufficient air to breathe.
The poor child was terribly frightened, the more
so as her brother, after keeping silent for a time,
suddenly threw himself against the door and gave
forth a loud and ghastly utterance.
"Paul!" pleaded the poor girl. "Dear Paul!
do please let me out. I'm choking! I can't bear
it any longer! "
In her despair she beat upon the door with her
tiny fists, and screamed for help; but all to no pur-
pose. The servants, who had received notice to
go on account of some malicious invention of their
enemy, were at the top of the house packing their
boxes. They heard the child's screams, it was true,
but in the house in which Paul lived such sounds
were not novel enough to attract attention.
As for the young villain himself, he was en-
gaged in a way which suited his peculiar tastes
much better than setting his prisoner free.
He was greedily devouring a piece of bread and
Retribution at Last
jam, which, in his passionate selfishness, he had
stolen from Zoe, his younger sister.
Meanwhile Mr. and Mrs. Steenvoorde, who had
been out for a drive, returned. They heard the
stifled moans of Sybil, and the sobs of Zoe for the
loss of her food. They hastened to the rescue.
The key! Where was the key?
Paul's got it," cried Zoe.
Blind to the consequences of his act, Paul
hastened headlong to his doom by declaring that
his sister was a perverter of the truth-only he
used a much more succinct form of expression.
He was seized, searched, and the key found
Then the storm, which had been nine years
gathering over his head, burst in fury.
His father caught his erring son with one hand,
and grasped a tough and very supple cane with the
What followed, I leave you to imagine.
"You know, my little dear," said Mrs. Steen-
voorde, with tears in her eyes, "it hurts father to
have to do this much more than it hurts you."
Hold your jaw!" cried the young miscreant,
who was much too free with shocking expressions.
"You wouldn't say that if it was you who was
Paul Runs Away 15
Thereupon Mr. Steenvoorde, who had paused
to take breath, was about to set to work again,
when Paul wriggled out of his grasp and took to
his heels, never stopping till he was well away from
"Don't care!" he said to himself as he ran on.
"WHAT FOLLOWED, I LEAVE YOU TO IMAGINE."
"I'll pay them out for this! I'll let them see if I'm
going to be touched! I'll pretend I'm lost, and
they'll be in an awful funk, and come out looking
for me, blubbering like anything, and beg me to go
A Critical Moment
back. But I won't-not until they go down on
their knees and swear they're sorry and promise
never to do it again."
In this amiable frame of mind he wandered on
until he had placed several miles between himself
At length hunger began to make itself felt. As
his appetite increased, the boy, who had been
always obedient to the promptings of his stomach,
naturally thought of going home. After some hesi-
tation, he swallowed his pride and commenced to
retrace his steps. As he sauntered on, he gazed
intently along the road, hoping to discern some
special envoy deputed to negotiate terms.
He even shaded off the sun with his hand to see
But no messenger was visible.
Furious with rage, he stamped his foot with an
expression in his face as though the ground were
his father's corn.
The disappointment he felt was so keen that his
eyelids began to blink rapidly and the corners of
his mouth to come down.
Of a sudden, the muscles of his face relaxed and
expanded into a broad grin.
THE sudden change in Paul's emotions was
produced by the sight of a large apple-tree
which grew by the side of the road.
"Don't care!" he muttered, his obstinacy re-
vived and strengthened by the sight of the fruit.
"Who wants their grub? I'll find plenty to eat
without them. Who wants them ? I don't. I hate
them all, and I'm never going home again. A
beastly hole, where a fellow can't even have a lark
without getting a hiding. Not likely! I'm going
to enjoy myself, and do just what I like. I'll take
a journey round the world and have adventures.
I've got plenty of money in my pocket. I've got
Unfettered by the trammels of honesty, he
proceeded forthwith to steal. He had noticed a
particularly fine apple near the top of the tree, and,
as the instinct of the boy prompted him to prefer a
large apple to a small one, up he went after it.
Hardly, however, had he taken the first bite
i8 Paul's Life Hangs by a Thread
from the ruddy pr
,, -. r-
"AT THE END OF WHICH
ize when the slim branch upon
which he stood snapped
beneath his weight.
Down he fell, crashing
through the tree, until he
reached the lowest bough,
Sat the end of which he
remained hanging by his
coat, looking for all the
world like one of those toy
animals one sees dangled
at the end of a piece
of elastic by a curbstone
For some seconds he
struck out wildly with his
arms and legs in an attempt
to extricate himself. But
the enduring powers of his
coat were not proof against
Such energetic exercise. In
the midst of his struggles
the cloth commenced to
\\" In an instant he became
H HE as still as a mummy.
He felt if he made
Sagacity of a Public Functionary 19
another movement, however slight, away would go
the coat and down he would tumble upon a heap
of road-metal which was piled immediately beneath
It was in this plight that he was perceived by
Roybon, the rural policeman.
This public functionary, in going his rounds,
observed a large object hanging like a chrysalis
from the bough of an apple-tree. This had struck
him as being very singular; for whatever may be
said about the discretion of a policeman, it must be
admitted that he is sufficiently well acquainted with
the common objects of the country to know that
apple-trees do not bear fruit of that description.
Roybon drew near, therefore, and discovered
that the helpless-looking object was a boy.
"You seem to like apples, my little man," he
said, with a great pretence of affability. "So do I.
They ain't half bad, I admit. I like 'em raw, and
I like 'em cooked. But I like 'em best of all when
they're paid for. Now then, young shaver," he
added, with a sudden change of utterance which
almost took away the little breath Paul had left,
"come down out of that! You and I have got a
little bit of business to settle together."
It is no matter for surprise that Paul did not
find this invitation very tempting.
20 A Terrible Plight
Roybon was one of the good sort, whose heart,
despite his years, was still youthful and warm. But
he was an old soldier, and his face, blackened by
the sun, scarred by two great sabre cuts, and orna-
mented with an enormous moustache which bristled
up at the ends as though it were in a towering
passion, had something very grim about it. To
add to his fierce and warlike aspect, he was armed
with a great sword, which he continually swayed
from side to side as a cat sweeps its tail when
stalking a sparrow. What increased still further
his unprepossessing appearance was the fact that
he had but one leg, having presented the other,
without any questioning, to a passing cannon-
Nor were Paul's fears confined merely to the
old warrior. The man was accompanied by a
dog called Nipper, which kept leaping and bark-
ing beneath the unfortunate boy as though it
would like nothing better than to make a meal of
"Oh, please, Mr. Policeman," cried Paul in a
tone of great alarm, "you're not going to hurt me,
are you ? "
"We shall see. Come down first. We'll have
the explanation afterwards. I'm a bit old-fashioned
myself, and I don't like talking to people who look
Restored to a More Normal Position 21
as if they were trying some new-fangled dodge of
flying through the air."
"But I can't get down."
"Can't get down ? How's that? "
"Then you're up a tree with a vengeance!"
And the old fellow fell into such a fit of laughter, at
what he evidently considered to be a prodigiously
fine joke, that Paul had good grounds for entertain-
ing the hope that he would choke himself.
He recovered, however, after a time, and,
scrambling upon the heap of stones, unhooked the
He held him in mid-air, while he explained to
Nipper that it was nothing for him to eat, and then
gently placed him on the ground.
Paul had quite made up his mind that it was
all over with him. But when he found himself
safely on his feet, and saw that the policeman
did not draw his sword to cut off his head, and
that the dog did not fly at him to take a piece
out of his leg, he rapidly recovered his customary
Thrusting his hands deep into his pockets, and
whistling in a way intended to represent the uncon-
cern of innocence, he was about to step off, when a
hand was laid heavily on his shoulder.
22 Paul Rides the High Horse
Here! Leave go!" he cried. "What are
you holding me for ?"
Because you've been stealing apples."
"You're another! "
"Then what were you doing up that tree ?"
I don't know. Taking a walk, perhaps. I
suppose I can take a walk up a tree, if I like, with-
out asking your permission? That's none of your
"What about this, then?" said Roybon, pick-
ing up the apple which had rolled into the middle
of the road.
Paul grew very red about the ears. His weak-
ness, however, was but momentary.
"Oh! that!" he said, holding his head a little
on one side, and examining the freshly-made bite
with an intensity of interest that could have been
equalled only by a specialist in odontology exa-
mining the teeth of the preserved monkey in the
Natural History Museum at South Kensington.
" I expect it grew like that." After a pause, he
added volubly, having by this time quite recovered
his ready tongue, I know a man who's got a lot
in his garden, just like that."
"I can quite believe you, my boy-if his
garden happens to be anywhere near where you
0 ABOUT i OFF."
An Awkward Moment
"I EXPECT IT GREW LIKE THAT."
This was embarrassing. Moreover, the steady
stare from the policeman's eyes was very un-
Neither spoke for some seconds.
Paul was the first to break silence.
"What business had you to go and hurt me,
26 Paul's Unheard-of Audacity
you big coward ?" he said, rubbing his elbow and
pretending to cry.
Roybon's eyes opened to their fullest extent.
Hurt you?" he said. "When did I hurt
When you dragged me out of the tree and
flung me on the ground."
Well! Of all the-"
"You did! You know you did. I'm black and
blue all over."
After staring for a moment in wonder, Roybon
burst out laughing.
Look here! he said. "Just to teach you not
to tell stories, I'm going to pull your ears. Now ?
did I hurt you ?"
Here! let go my ears, or I'll kick you!"
Paul had never been in a like predicament
before, and he did not know that it is notwise to
be saucy to policemen.
Oh, that's your little game, is it?" cried Roy-
bon. So much the worse for you, my boy. I
had intended to let you go, after I had given you
a good fright. But if that's your style, you'll come
along with me."
Let me go!" cried Paul, kicking and strug-
gling in the powerful grasp of the man, "or I'll tell
my father, I will."
He Experiences a Sudden Check 27
This appeal to the protection of his parent was,
perhaps, only natural. But Paul seemed to have
forgotten that but a few minutes before he had
contemptuously cast off his home and everything
Come! said the policeman, waxing severe at
last, for his patience had been sorely tried, "less
jaw, or I'll pull your ears again."
Paul saw that this was no empty threat. He
allowed himself to be taken away submissively
enough-although his brain was busy all the time
working out a plan of escape.
Of a sudden he stopped, coughed violently, and
cried in the husky tones of one on the point of
death by strangulation, "Oh! you're choking me!
I can't breathe! Let go!"
Roybon, taken quite off his guard by the boy's
artful simulation, at once relaxed his hold.
The next second the slippery young customer
had wrenched himself free, and had taken to his
But he had reckoned without Nipper.
Before he had gone ten paces, the dog had him
by the somewhat too voluminous part of his nether
Paul stopped instantly. Nor did he make any
attempt to break away. He recognized in Nipper's
28 [Jithin the Grasp of the Law
grasp a superior power which was not to be trifled
"Gently, Nipper, gently!" cried Roybon, hob-
bling up with his dot-and-carry-one step. Re-
member he's black and blue all over. Besides, he
didn't want to run away, bless you. He's just
beginning to like us."
"THE DOG HAD HIM."
This banter enraged Paul ten times more than
a good shaking would have done. White with
rage, he flew at his tormentor.
"No nonsense, my boy, if you please," ex-
claimed the policeman, clutching the little wrists
in his sinewy fingers and holding them as in a
Humours of the Crowd 29
vice. "You just come along quietly, or I'll give
you something you'll remember."
There was a peculiar light in the speaker's eye
which suggested to the boy the advisability of doing
as he was told.
An arrest is an important event in a small
village. It comes, too, as a pleasant change to
the everlasting topic which saturates the lives of
these simple people--the affairs of their neigh-
The rumour that a dangerous criminal had been
captured spread from house to house with the
velocity of the aforesaid tittle-tattle. Everybody
who had the free use of his or her legs rushed
into the street, while decrepit old men and women
tottered to the open doors and windows to join
forces with those outside in framing a thousand
'He's a murderer!" said one.
"An incendiary !" said another.
A coiner cried a third.
"Perhaps it was he who robbed the bank at
Louviers the other night! suggested a fourth.
"No doubt!" acquiesced a fifth. "I can see
now what a lucky thing it was for the cashier that
he was not shot through the heart."
30 Not a Very Good Beginning to
"Anyway," said everybody, "you can see by
his face that he's a regular bad 'un."
Truth to say,
/z, i, naturally not
'I,," an ugly one,
then so dis-
X torted with
ing rage he
felt at being
I himself upon the
Shaping crowd that
it looked really fright-
ful, and quite justified
the adverse opinions
which had been ex-
pressed about him.
Each moment the noise
and the bustle increased,
S for each moment some bare-
legged little ragamuffin, breath-
less with excitement, rushed
THE ARREST. upon the scene, to swell the
A Journey Round the Worla 31
clamorous mob which followed at the heels of
Roybon and his captive.
All the curs of the village were there, too,
leaping and barking about them, while Nipper kept
running to and fro quite proud of the capture he
IN the midst of all these shouts, jeers, and yelps,
the policeman and his prisoner arrived at the
The public were not admitted. Indignant at
being shut out from an entertainment so eminently
suited to their tastes, they relieved their feelings
by hurling at Paul opprobrious epithets through
the windows-a circumstance which did not tend
to improve that young gentleman's temper.
After a brief delay, the Mayor, in whose sphere
of jurisdiction the theft had been committed, entered
the court and seated himself with much ceremony
in the magisterial chair.
Having taken off his eye-glasses with a splendid
flourish, wiped them with solemn deliberation, and
replaced them upon his nose with the regal air of
a king placing a crown on his own head, he gave
an authoritative little cough suitable to the occasion,
and then fixed a stern look upon the prisoner.
After staring until he thought a sufficiently
The Dignity of the Bench
"FIXED A STERN LOOK UPON THE PRISONER."
solemn impression had been made, he motioned
the policeman to proceed with the charge.
But the surroundings of the court, to say
nothing of the great show of importance preserved
34 The Case Against Paul Opened
by the Mayor, even in his smallest action, did not
awe Paul in the least. Inwardly furious, although
outwardly clothed with a spurious calm, he was
thinking of nothing but how he might revenge
himself upon somebody for the keen mortification
he felt at his disgraceful entry into the village.
In the matter of making himself objectionable his
resources were limitless. On the present occasion
he made up his mind to extract, as a balm to his
wounded feelings, some sly amusement from the
Meanwhile Roybon, sinking the man in the
policeman, recited in strident tones his alarming
version of the daring capture.
During the recital, Paul lolled against the side
of the dock with an assumption of indifference
which the wicked light in his eye scarcely bore
out. At length, as though bored to death with
the tediousness and stupidity of the whole business,
he turned his back upon the witness, and, spreading
out his elbows, let his chin fall upon his hands and
fell to contemplating the clerk.
This diversion appeared to afford him most
agreeable entertainment-as well it might, for the
clerk, in appearance, was as remarkable a figure
as Paul, or any one else, for the matter of that,
had ever seen in or out of a waxwork show. He
Effrontery of the Accused 35
was an enormously fat little man, quite round,
with a head so bald, and shaped so peculiarly like
an egg, that, had a broody hen seen it, nothing
would have kept her from sitting upon it.
When the evidence had been written down,
the Mayor asked the prisoner what he had to say
in reply to the charge.
Lies," muttered Paul, with an amount of inso-
lent expression which only a boy can get into that
This impertinence astonished the Mayor more
than words can tell. He was accustomed to see
the eyes of those who were brought before him
meet his gaze with an air of cringing deprecation,
as if to apologise for the fact of existing in his pre-
sence, and to hear their voices plead for leniency in
tones of husky conciliation. But here was a little
brat of a boy, with dirty face, hair in disorder, coat
torn, collar rumpled, vest open, and with one hand
employed to check the buttonless freedom of his
trousers, daring to address him in that unheard-of
manner Was the boy human, or an imp of dark-
ness, that he had the audacity to remain unmoved
by his majestic mien ?
Possibly it was the Mayor's uncertainty on this
point which suggested his next question. When
he had recovered from the shock to his feelings, he
36 He Goesfrom Bad to Worse
asked the culprit, with some degree of curiosity, the
name and address of his parents.
Paul cast up his eyes, and fixed them on the
At length, with a slight shrug of his shoulders,
as over a hopeless task, he said, I forget."
Nonsense!" cried the Mayor testily. "Speak
"That is the truth," said Paul, raising the divine
eyes of a young seraph to the ceiling. I love the
As the last words left his lips, his eye, now
TIPPED HIM A CRAFTY WINK.11
"TIPPED HIM A CRAFTY WINK."
Magnanimity of a Great Public Man 37
brought back to earth, accidentally caught that of
Emboldened by something he saw in the man's
fat face, he tipped him a crafty wink.
The Mayor seemed to swell, like a cat's tail, to
twice his natural size with indignation.
Prisoner !" he cried sternly, "let me caution
you that this is neither the time nor the place for
unseemly levity. You have, beyond doubt, been
guilty of a very wicked action. You have endea-
voured to pilfer."
I never," interrupted Paul, viewing the rising
indignation of the Mayor with great satisfaction.
Prisoner! do not add falsehood to your first
misdemeanorr" Pointing to the table before the
clerk, and emphasising each word with a shake of
his finger, the Mayor continued, "There is the
apple, which the constable has produced in corro-
boration of his statement, with the marks of your
teeth upon it. Confirmatory proof, sir, which no
amount of fabrication on your part can hope to
controvert. Nevertheless, I do not wish to treat
you with the rigour which the law allows. My
desire is less to punish than to correct you. I do
not wish, moreover, that you should bring an un-
deserved disgrace upon the honest family to which,
I hope, you may belong. Admit your guilt, tell me
38 Paul Hastens Towards his Doom
that you repent, and lastly, give me your name and
address, and, satisfied with having recalled you to
the path of duty, I shall at once give orders to have
you restored to the arms of your parents."
The idea of being restored to the arms of his
parents-and probably also to a tough and very
supple cane-evidently had the effect of utterly
destroying Paul's memory.
After leaning his head on one side for some
time, as though in a strenuous effort to remember,
he said hopelessly, It's no good. I forget."
A terrible frown gathered on the brow of the
Prisoner," he said, with increased severity of
manner, "it is evident that you are an incorrigible
young ruffian. You have been given most con-
siderate warning as to your conduct, but you have
not heeded it. Nevertheless, I will give you one
opportunity more. Take my advice and avail your-
self of it. What is the name and address of your
parents ? "
"I forget, I've said twice!" shouted Paul, his
smouldering rage bursting for the moment into a
flame. If you want to know so much, why don't
you write and ask them ? "
Had you seen the Mayor, you must have thought
he would have fainted. His glasses fell from his
Solemn Judgment Against Him 39
nose and he leaned back helplessly in his chair-
positively gasping for breath.
It was some moments before his indignation
allowed him to speak.
Then he arose, and, speaking slowly and im-
pressively, delivered the following solemn sentence:
" Prisoner! since it appears from your own admis-
sion that you know neither the name nor the abode
of your parents, and that consequently you are of
no home and of no occupation-which is an offence
punishable by law-I find myself under the painful
necessity of considering you as a vagabond, and of
having you conducted temporarily to the village
prison, and of sending you afterwards, under an
escort of police, to the capital of the Department,
whence you will be transferred, under the charge
of vagabondage, to the Tribunal of Correction.
Constable! remove the prisoner."
Thereupon, having collected his papers, but not
without eyeing Paul suspiciously the while, as
though under the impression that he might have
stolen some of them, the Mayor swept with magis-
terial dignity from the room.
Paul had never been so taken aback in his life.
He had looked upon the whole affair as an excellent
joke, and had been enjoying himself mightily. But
the dreadful words police," prison," and, worst
40 His Fatal Obstinacy
of all, "correction," had transformed in an instant
his impudent leer into a look of wildest distress and
"Now, then," cried the policeman, smiling grimly
at the ludicrous bewilderment painted in the boy's
countenance, "come along. You'll gain nothing
by standing there looking like a motherless colt.
You've done it this time, young shaver, and no
mistake! Right about face! Quick march !"
Paul had been on the point of calling after the
Mayor, and offering to disclose not only his own
name and address, but that of every man, woman,
and child he knew, should the worthy gentleman,
perchance, evince a thirst for such weighty know-
ledge, when the taunting words of the policeman
fell upon his ear.
In a second his good resolutions were swept
away in a flood of vengeful fury.
Wild horses, he told himself, would not drag it
from him now.
For some moments he fought Roybon tooth
and nail, bounding about the dock like a maddened
At length he was secured and dragged across
the room, beating the floor with his heels all the
As the crowd was still in the street, the police-
He is Cast into Prison
man smuggled out his charge by a private door, and
conveyed him by a roundabout way to the village
lock-up, a building which stood at the back of his
"Here we are at last, my young devourer of
other people's apples," he exclaimed, pushing Paul
before him through the doorway. It's a bit dark,
I admit. If you'd only written to say you were
coming, I'd have had the electric light laid on. Still,
it's nice and quiet. Just the sort of crib to think in.
I shouldn't be surprised if it helped you to remem-
ber your name. Dear me! What a terrible thing
it is to have such a bad memory! "
With these mocking words the old rogue turned
away, chuckling hugely at his own wit.
Paul did not look up, but he heard the closing
door creak heavily on its hinges.
Then the double click of the lock resounded in
WHEN Paul found himself alone, under lock
and key, he tried at first to hide the shame
he felt behind a mask of recklessness.
"Don't care!" he cried, snapping his fingers.
I took the starch out of that stuck-up old Mayor,
And, as the recollection of the scene in court
came back to him, he gave vent to a loud
But there was a false ring in his laughter which
made it sound unpleasant even to his own ears.
His show of gaiety was but short-lived. As he
looked round upon his prison walls, and realized
that his confinement was a stern reality, his heart
appeared to sink into his boots.
For a time he stared despondently before him,
his brain numbed by a vague wandering feeling
which was partial unconsciousness.
Recovering from this stupor, he became furious
and vengeful, threatening the policeman and the
In a Solitary Cell 43
Mayor with penalties of the most alarming de-
Of a sudden his rage culminated in a paroxysm
of fury. He smashed to atoms the pitcher which
held his drinking water, and danced like a maniac
on the pieces. He stamped the legs from off his
little stool, and with them played imaginary Aunt
Sally, with Roybon's head for the cock-shy. Then
he dashed at the door, and commenced a savage
assault upon that massive barrier.
At length, having succeeded in nothing but in
bruising his knuckles and in barking his shins, he
flung himself upon the heap of straw which was
to be his bed and burst into a flood of tears.
This, if anything could, relieved him.
As he lay there, beating the ground with his
fists, the policeman entered with his supper.
It was not a sumptuous repast, inasmuch as it
consisted of nothing but a crust of dry bread.
"Remembered your name and address yet?"
began the old soldier in a wondrous sly way. "No!
That's strange. It's such a quiet sort of place to
think in. Never mind! It'll come soon. Don't
you worry yourself. I hope you'll find the sheets
nicely aired, and the new spring mattress to your
liking. The chamber-maid will bring you your
coffee and a can of hot water at nine. In the
44 The Dungeon's Mouldy Straw
"THE POLICEMAN ENTERED WITH HIS SUPPER."
meantime, here's your supper. It isn't up to much,
I admit. I fancy an apple wouldn't spoil it. Such,
for instance, as that big red one which-eh ? "
And the old fellow betook himself off, shaking
his head in the most waggish manner.
This raillery made Paul's blood boil. Unable
to restrain his rage and hate, he seized the crust
of bread and hurled it at the retreating figure.
The missile went wide of its mark, and, skim-
Horrors of Pitchy Obscurity 45
ming through the doorway, fell on the stones of the
Folly upon follies! He had thrown away his
supper. Nor had he a drop of water with which
to quench his thirst. The pitcher lay in pieces.
Daylight waned. The shadows deepened. Night
Naturally a coward in the dark, imagine the
frights Paul had to endure when he found himself
alone in pitchy obscurity!
As the hours passed with solemn pace, his fears
increased. At length they became agonising. The
howling of the dog, which he expected each moment
would find its way into the cell, by an entry un-
known to himself, to whet its teeth upon his bones;
the grating of the branch of a tree against the wall
without, which sounded to him, in his state of
apprehension, as though some murderer were trying
to effect an entrance; the rustling of the straw upon
which he lay, in which his timid ear heard the
stealthy footfalls of some ghostly thing creeping
upon him in the darkness to strike him dead-all
had a mystery and a terror which made his flesh
In the midst of these alarms a light fell upon his
Shrieking with fear, he buried his head in the
46 Frightful Suferings of Paul
straw, and thrust out his hands as though to ward
off a spectral, dreadful something.
The little coward! It was only the moon which
had risen, and which was darting a ray through a
chink in the roof.
But more objectionable things than moonbeams
had found their way into the cell under cover of
While the boy was lying with his face hidden
in the straw, still trembling in every limb from the
effects of his recent fright, a big rat scampered
across his neck.
Goodness how he jumped !
He breaks into a cold sweat to this day when-
ever he thinks of it.
To be brief, had he eaten the whole of a pig,
underdone, for supper, he could not have had a more
wildly exciting time.
But there was a lesson in this unreasoning dread
which was not lost upon Paul. How he longed
to be at home What a contrast between his pre-
sent misery and that excess of motherly devotion
which went the length of leaving a night-light in
his room in case he should wake and be fright-
ened by the darkness! Thoughts of the warm bed
he had exchanged for some wisps of straw, of the
dainties he had left for starvation, of the happy
A Dreadful Apparition 47
evenings with his little sisters which he had given
up for the solitude and the gloom of a prison cell-
of all, in short, which he had sacrificed, beat upon
his brain in waves of torturing regret, now that
he was no longer able to enjoy it.
Yet, if he already felt sorry for his foolish
escapade, it was a selfish repentance only. He
regretted having left his home because of the
trouble he had brought upon himself, and not
because of the pain and sorrow his folly might
have caused others.
Indeed, as soon as the sun rose, and he was
delivered from the terrors of the night, he con-
temptuously cast aside all thoughts of his father,
mother, sisters, aunt, and home.
The only thing which occupied his mind now
was how he was to get out of prison.
In scattering his glances round the walls to see
if there was any loophole of escape, his gaze lit
upon a head without a body which was peering at
him through a small hole in the bottom of the door.
In a moment all the horrible fancies of the night
With a cry of affright, he staggered against the
opposite wall and covered his face with his hands.
In a little while, impelled by that peculiarity of
human nature which seems to force one against his
48 Terror Beyond Description
will to contemplate an object of dread or disgust,
he slowly parted his fingers, and, peeping through
the cracks, looked fearfully in the direction of the
His shrinking gaze met, as before, that of the
Fixed and glaring, the unflinching orbs followed
him, run where he might for safety, as the eyes of
"LOOKED FEARFULLY IN THE DIRECTION OF THE DOOR."
Intense Suspense 49
a portrait follow-or should follow-one about a
At length, although his heart was still thumping
against his ribs like a distracted bell-clapper, he
ventured to look attentively at the head.
Observing that it did not roll towards him-if it
had, the yell he would have given would have burst
the tympanum of a stone elephant-he plucked up
sufficient courage to examine it closely.
IT was a child's head, with chubby cheeks and
large round eyes.
What do you want ? angrily demanded
"I don't want nothing," replied the head.
"Then what are you staring at me for?"
"'Cause I've got to. My father told me to
come and see how you was getting on."
"Who's your father, and what's he got to do
Go on! As if you didn't know."
But I don't know."
My father's the policeman."
Paul darted a quick look at the head, and
whistled a long low note.
After a pause, he said indifferently-or, rather,
affecting indifference-" Did he give you the key? "
"No; but I took it, 'cause I wanted to see what
you was like, 'cause my father said you was a very
An Evil Counsellor
I wish you could have heard Paul say that.
In a little while he added, with a great pretence
of carelessness, Anyhow, you've got the key ?"
"Then come in here. It's so jolly!"
"No; I mustn't. My father said I wasn't to
talk to you."
"What's that got to do with it, stupid? You
don't always do what your father tells you, do
"Yes, I does, 'cause he says he'll beat me if I
Then he's an old beast, and I'd like to kick
him, and you're a little funk to stand it! But where
He's making his coffee."
That's all right, then. He can't see you. Do
come in. Just for a second. We'll have such fun.
I'll show you all sorts of tricks. I can turn up the
whites of my eyes, and look at both sides of my
nose at once, and move my hair all over my head,
and make my ears jump." He spoke with bated
breath, as though these were some new and astound-
ing feats of which he alone possessed the secret.
But he had reserved his great effect until the last.
Lowering his voice to a mysterious but audible
52 The Spider and the Fly
whisper, he added, "I can turn 'cart-wheels,' too,
and walk on my hands, and stand on my head! "
The owner of the large round eyes was a very
good little boy, who possessed many excellent
qualities, but also, alas many weaknesses, and the
greatest of these was curiosity.
For a time his conscience struggled bravely with
his curse. But the one was young and puny, and
the other vigorous and old as Adam. It was an
uneven contest, and in the end the weak and the
beautiful went down before the ugly and the
Little dreaming how dearly he would have to
pay for his folly, the too credulous fly walked into
"That's right!" cried the spider encouragingly.
" No one will ever know. What's your name? "
The ceremony of introduction being thus sum-
marily got out of the way, Paul never left off, for
several minutes thereafter, making queer grimaces.
Having exhausted his talents in the art of facial
expression, he turned his attention to acrobatic
feats, and spun round the cell in a succession of
"cart-wheels with such confusing rapidity that his
companion could not count the spokes. Then he
An Acrobatic Performance
"SPUN ROUND IN A SUCCESSION OF 'CART-WHEELS.'
walked about on his hands, his head down, his
heels in the air, and everything about him dangling
the wrong way. In conclusion, he stood on his
head until he was attacked by a fit of coughing
which nearly choked him.
All these things he did to the wonder and the
delight of his dupe, who looked on open-mouthed
The artful boy was quick to notice this, and,
feeling sure that the performance had been a com-
54 _/A youthful Tactician
plete success in every way, hastened to bring the
scheme he was plotting to a favourable conclusion.
"Oh, I say!" he cried, as though the idea had
but that moment occurred to him. Wouldn't it
be a lark if you were to let me out."
Oh, but I mustn't!" replied Jimmy hastily.
"I'd get beated."
"Then don't you suppose you're going to see
any more of my tricks!" cried Paul, with juvenile
superciliousness. "And what you saw is nothing
to what I can do-if I like."
This was scarcely fair to Jimmy. Within the
last few minutes he had grown to regard Paul as
the greatest wonder the world had yet produced,
and, in his admiration, would have freed him as
gladly as I would free every wild bird I see im-
prisoned in a cage-but! Ay, there was the rub-
or would be, after his father had done with him.
Repelled in his attack, the young general did
not attempt a second rush, but executed instead
woman's favourite artifice-a sidling manceuvre.
If your father threatens to beat you just
because you don't choose to do everything ke
wants," began Paul, in syren-like tones of allure-
ment, "why don't you run away? You know you
can come with me if you like."
No words that can be brought to influence a
The Inutility of Grammar 55
listener are more eloquent at times than silence.
The young schemer, therefore, remained mute until
a full understanding of the breadth and the beauty of
this remarkable piece of condescension had filtered
into Jimmy's brain. Then he came on again.
"You would, if you only knew how jolly it is
to be your own master, to never have any beastly
lessons to learn, to run where you like and do just
what you like, without having an old cat of an aunt
saying, 'Paul, do you call those hands clean?' or,
when you haven't eaten half as much as you want
to, 'Paul, you've had quite as much as is good for
a little boy,' or else, when you want to play, 'Paul,
come here and say your grammar.' Grammar! he
cried, with an expression of scorn of which no pen
could convey an adequate idea, "what's the good
of grammar ? I don't go to my mother and say,
' Mother, I love you; I pronoun, first person
singular. Love verb, active voice, indicative
mood, present tense,' do I? Of course I don't.
So I ran away, and now I am free and happy."
Free!" exclaimed Jimmy, opening his eyes
very wide. "Why, you're in prison."
Paul darted a swift glance of anger at the
speaker, and then, swinging about on his heel,
viciously kicked a piece of the broken pitcher to
the other end of the cell.
56 A Softened Heart
When he looked round again, his eyes were
moist with tears.
Jimmy was affected. Those wet eyes pleaded
for liberty in a language a hundred times more
convincing than words.
"But if I lets you out," he said, "is you sure,
if we get catched, that my father won't beat me
cause I runned away ? "
"Of course he won't!" cried Paul, his eyes
glistening through his tears with renewed hope.
" He'll think you're lost, and be in an awful funk.
He'll be too glad to have you home again to think
of doing anything but blubbering. Most likely,"
he added, dropping his voice to a husky whisper,
"he'll give you a shilling."
"But what is we to do?" asked Jimmy, doubt-
ingly, his fat little fingers still clasped tightly upon
Do? Lots of things. Don't be afraid. I've
got plenty of money in my pocket. I've got four-
Time pressed, and Paul was beginning to lose
"Oh, you'll see. We'll run about the fields,
and fly kites made like dragons and fish; oh, so
The Spider Works quickly 57
Paul had seen such things in a book on China
in his father's study.
"Where will you get a kite like that ?" asked
Paul looked at the inquisitive little fellow as
though he would like to eat him. The next second
he had choked down all sign of impatience, and had
forced a counterfeit calm into the expression of his
I'll make one," he said, speaking as though he
had made so many that mere mention of anything
of the kind was wearisome.
"But has you ever made a kite like that,
Millions!" he answered recklessly. And
look here," he added testily, impatient at the loss
of time, don't you badger me with your everlasting
questions. I know what I'm talking about. And
I'll go up as a 'messenger,' and sit on the dragon's
back and wave my cap to you."
Can you do that, Paul? "
"Yes, dash you! I've done it seventy-four
times. And I'll take up a lot of fireworks and let
them off when it gets dark, and everybody will
think there's a comet come, and then I'll pull you
up, and the kite will fly away-away to Paris,
perhaps, where all the beautiful shops are, full of
58 The Fly is Enveloped
lovely toys. But you'll never see them if you don't
make haste and let me out."
Who can enter into the mind of the chubby-
faced boy and say to what thoughts the promise of
viewing all these wonders gave rise?
With childlike simplicity and confidence he
placed the key in Paul's hand.
But the escape was not yet effected, The
fugitives had to cross an open yard to reach the
gates of a high wall which stood between them
Scarcely daring to breathe, they slipped from
the cell, and, creeping on their hands and knees,
silent as thieves in the night, reached the side of
In spite of these precautions Nipper heard
them, and, rushing from his kennel, began to bark
Paul gave himself up for lost. So madly was
the dog tugging at its chain, he thought it must
break, and that he would be devoured, or at least
retaken, as on the previous day.
To make matters worse, the boys heard the
stump, stump of a wooden leg resounding through
the very room beneath the low window-sill of which
they were crouching in terror.
Had the policeman been alarmed, and was
The Terrible Nipper Again 59
he coming forth to ascertain the cause of the
With their lungs still filled with the breath
they had drawn, they awaited the answer to these
questions in an agony of suspense.
Fortunately for them, the man was too deep in
the enjoyment of his coffee and roll to give much
heed to the faithful animal's warning.
He came, however, to the window, and looked
out across the yard-but not beneath him.
Seeing no one, he shouted to Nipper in a gruff
voice to "go and lie down."
Then he left the window.
The boys needed no one to tell them that now
or never was their chance. Clinging to one another
in speechless terror, they started across the open.
But fear so deprived them of the power of moving
that they hardly made any progress at all.
To add to the horror of the situation, the barking
of Nipper had become frantic. The hair of his back
was drawn up in a bristling ridge, and every tooth
In the end, the two little runaways managed to
drag their quivering legs as far as the gate. But
here they experienced a serious check.
The great bolt was out of their reach.
Almost biting a piece out of Jimmy's ear in his
60 Between the Hammer and the Anvil
agitation, Paul whis- -pla n
pered him to plant
his hands on his v !
knees, so as to
"make a back."
But so terrified "NOW OR NEVER WAS THEIR CHANCE."
was Paul, it seemed
as though he never would succeed in climbing upon
the shoulders of his companion.
At length his shaking legs gained a foothold.
Even then, an enormous number of ages seemed
to him to elapse before his trembling fingers could
grasp the handle with sufficient firmness to draw
Paul's Revenge 61
In time, however, this was effected, and the pon-
derous frame swung slowly open.
There was too much of the Parthian in Paul's
nature to retire without discharging a parting arrow.
He took up a stone, and, throwing it at Nipper,
caught the dog on the nose with a precision that
would have done credit to William Tell.
The next second the boys had disappeared.
" CAUGHT THE DOG ON THE NOSE."
M R. STEENVOORDE attached, at first, but
little importance to the prolonged absence
of his son. The impulse of bad temper, he
told himself, which had led Paul to commit such
a mad prank was only another proof that he had
spoiled the child by sparing the rod, and he pro-
mised himself to make tardy but, he hoped, effective
amends for his own negligence by soundly caning
the boy on his return.
That he would return, he had not the least doubt.
The young gourmand's sulky humour, he knew from
experience, would last until dinner-time-not longer.
His appetite was a safe guarantee for his return.
Nor did the other members of the family trouble
their heads much about him. If they thought of
him at all, it was with a sense of relief. The
house, for once, was quiet for a few hours, and
that was something to be thankful for.
But when the dinner-bell rang and he did not
return-he who was always first to rush to the
A Sleepless Night 63
table-they began to think it strange. Later, when
night came, and he had not put in an appearance-
he who was such a notorious little coward in the
dark-they grew uneasy.
"What had become of him? What was he
doing? Had anything happened him ?" were
questions they asked one another with ever-in-
They would have sent out a search-party, but
there was no one to send. That very morning,
as I have stated, Paul had contrived to get all
the servants dismissed.
In this difficulty, Mr. Steenvoorde bethought
himself of the old coachman. He, at least, remained.
Hurrying away to the stables, he despatched this
faithful servant to scour the country in search of
the missing boy.
In an hour the old fellow returned-white with
He had seen a ghost, but Master Paul was
nowhere to be found.
The night was passed without sleep. No one,
in fact, thought of going to bed.
As the hours went by, Mr. Steenvoorde, thinking
it his duty to do his utmost to hide his own un-
easiness beneath a show of gaiety, pretended to
make light of the matter.
"Don't cry, my dears," he said. "There is
really no cause for alarm. Never fear! He'll
come back only too soon for our peace, I'll answer
for it. Why, I hope he doesn't come home for
So great, indeed, was the good man's indiffer-
ence, he paced the room with the feverish rest-
lessness of a caged beast, continually pulled out
his watch to see the time, and, at regular intervals
of ten seconds, went to the front door and shouted
"Paul!" at the top of his voice.
It is not, therefore, a matter for surprise that
the worthy gentleman's spectral attempts to reassure
the women-folk were not brilliantly successful.
The mother declared that something told her an
awful calamity had befallen her boy, and, on each
occasion of her husband's fruitless appeal to dark-
ness and to space, she rent the air with her cries.
Sybil and Zoe both remembered having dreamed,
at one time or another in their lives, that Paul had
been eaten by an ogre. In consequence, having
a firm belief in dreams, they howled through the
night like two newly-acquired puppies.
No such portentous communications had been
made to the aunt. Nevertheless, that gentle lady
crept quietly into a corner, and there, in silence,
let fall a shower of large-sized tears.
A Man at the Gate 65
At length the night of restless misery and of
anxious thoughts came to an end.
At daybreak, a great barking and rushing about
of dogs betokened the arrival
of an early visitor.
Mr. Steenvoorde stepped
at once from the house, and
almost immediately found
himself face to face with
an individual whom he had
never seen before-a stal-
worth man of about forty
S years of age, with a resound-
Sing voice, a severe expres-
sion, and a piercing eye.
"A GREAT BARKING AND RUSHING ABOUT OF DOGS."
66 Important Tidings
For some time the two men conversed hurriedly
and excitedly together. It was obvious to the
women, who were peeping from the windows, that
something of great importance was under considera-
tion. It was also evident, a little later, that the
mysterious visitor was the bearer of tidings which
had brought immense relief to Mr. Steenvoorde's
When that gentleman turned again to retrace
his steps towards the house, his full round face
beamed with such a luminous grin that it might
have been mistaken, in the uncertain light of dawn,
for the orb of the rising sun.
As he approached the door, he was bombarded
by a chorus of hysterical questions, all delivered
in such high-pitched tones that a flock of sparrows,
which were about to breakfast on some millet in
the garden, were frightened into the middle of the
"My son is not dead!" shrieked Mrs. Steen-
"The ogre didn't catch him screamed Sybil.
"He's throwed him up again, like Jonah!"
cried Zoe, who was a child with an exuberant
"He is with the angels," murmured the aunt, in
a lofty flight of imagination.
A Very Mysterious Affair 67
"Come inside," said Mr. Steenvoorde, with a
knowing look, "and you shall know all."
"WITH A KNOWING LOOK."
The same evening the family left their home
in Louviers for a large country-house, which Mr.
Steenvoorde had taken but a few days before, for
the purpose of spending the autumn months in
PLIGHT AND PURSUIT
IN deadly fear of being pursued, overtaken, and
punished, Paul and Jimmy ran without once
daring to look behind them for a distance of
over a mile.
So great was their terror, they mistook every
old woman they saw holding a cow by a string in
the fields for Roybon and the terrible Nipper.
At length, breathless and exhausted, they threw
themselves into a ditch by the side of the road.
When Paul had ceased panting like a little dog
which is forced to run after a bicycle, he crept to
the top of the bank and looked cautiously around.
There was no one in sight.
Bursting out laughing, he said, "Didn't I give
that old beast the slip nicely Wouldn't I just like
to be somewhere now where I could see him with-
out him seeing me! "
"Oh, don't, please!" cried Jimmy. "I'm so
Paul did not answer. His thoughts had been
.4/t '~l -Kr.
WAS THEIR TERROR,
THEY MISTOOK EVERY OLD
WOMAN THEY SAW HOLDING A
COW BY A STRING IN THE FIELDS 9
FOR ROYBON AND THE TERRIBLE NIPPER."
Paul has to Blush for the Past 71
directed into another channel. Growing upon the
very bank upon which they were lying was a large
apple-tree, laden with fruit.
With his eyes staring intently upwards, like
those of a frog, he murmured, "There's apples up
But you mustn't touch them !" said Jimmy.
"'Cause that would be stealing."
"Pugh!" and, turning contemptuously on his
heel, Paul commenced to climb the tree.
"Don't! Please don't! You'll be putted in
In an instant Paul had slipped to the ground.
"What's that you said?" he cried, glaring
savagely at Jimmy.
"You knows you was putted in prison for steal-
"You was ?"
"Who said so?"
"My father. He said you was putted in prison
cause you was a little thief."
Paul's face and neck flushed scarlet. In a fit of
rage and shame he flew at his companion.
The [Form Turns
"CONSIDERABLY ASTONISHED HIS ASSAILANT."
Now this was a cowardly thing to do. Jimmy,
besides being of a lamb-like disposition, was much
the smaller boy. For all that, he happened just
then to be very much out of humour, and in conse-
quence he retaliated with a vigour which consider-
ably astonished his assailant. Indeed, that young
gentleman soon discovered that he was getting the
worst of it.
Duplicity and Lamentation 73
"Stop !" he cried. Here's your father !" and
off he scampered, followed by Jimmy.
After running some distance, they were obliged
to halt for want of breath.
"Where's my father? exclaimed Jimmy, look-
ing up and down the road. "I don't see him."
In his skin, you little funk. I was only fool-
Jimmy had not the heart to reply. He was
already beginning to feel penitent and miserable,
and this piece of deception was the finishing stroke.
He sat down upon the bank and began to cry.
"Look here!" cried Paul roughly. "If you're
going to sit there blubbering, your father really will
come, and then won't you catch it for letting me
out, that's all!"
"But what is we going to do?" asked Jimmy,
looking up through his tears.
"Do? Why, take a journey round the world
and have adventures," exclaimed Paul, in the style
of one who has seen life and knows all about it.
Don't be afraid. I've got plenty of money in my
pocket. I've got fourpence."
But you said you was going to make a kite."
So I am-when I can find anything to make
it with. I can't make it out of a bare road, can I,
74 Tears Give Place to Dimples
"But how long will it be before you finds some-
thing to make it with ?"
Stamping the ground impetuously, and scowling
at his companion, Paul cried angrily, Look here!
If you keep on badgering me with questions I won't
make one at all-so there! "
"But if I don't ask any more questions," said
Jimmy, "will you make one then? "
Paul did not reply. The question had given
rise to thoughts which lay too deep for even naughty
Hark!" he cried, jumping round and looking
in the direction of a village which stood on a hill
about half a mile distant. "What noise is that?
It's a band! I know what it is! It's a fair "
"A fair!" cried Jimmy, all thoughts of his
troubles driven in an instant from his mind by that
talismanic word. "Oh, what fun! Let's go! "
"Yes! Come on! Make haste!"
Arm in arm, in the greatest good-fellowship,
they raced along, capering and laughing as they
went as though there were no such things in the
world as prisons, Nippers, or rigorous fathers who
beat undutiful sons.
Meanwhile the old policeman, having partaken
of his morning cup of coffee, took down his pipe,
filled it, lit it, and, seating himself in a chair, pre-
Roybon Considerably Disconcerted 75
pared to take his ease-for he was a widower. For
a long time he remained, watching the ascending
coils of blue smoke, in a state of supreme happiness.
After thus indulging in his own reflections until
the tobacco burned low in the bowl, he roused him-
self from his reverie, and, getting upon his foot and
his wooden leg, knocked the ashes out of his pipe.
Then he put on his blouse and his great cocked-hat,
and, slinging his sword at his side, went forth to ascer-
tain if the peacefulness of the cell had enabled Paul
to remember the name and address of his parents.
When he arrived at the door and looked in, his
eyebrows rose until they seemed to be meditating
"Gone!" he gasped, running his eye over the
empty cell. "But who on earth could have let
him out? Can that boy of mine have dared-Hi!
But he received no reply, for reasons known
to the reader.
"He's got over my boy, and they've gone off
Having thus hit the right nail on the head at
the first stroke, which was a very remarkable thing
for a policeman to do, he began to fling his limbs
about after the extraordinary manner of a premiere
76 Flight and Pursuit
When, at length, his heel and stump had re-
covered a little from their unwonted activity, he
hurried across the yard, with anything but the
dignified gait which befits a man with such respon-
sibilities, and floundered up a ladder into the pigeon-
house, an elevated position from which an extensive
view could be obtained.
Eagerly scanning the surrounding country in
all directions, he perceived at length, in the middle
of a long, straight, white road, two little black dots.
As he watched, they disappeared, reappeared, as the
undulating country rose or fell, went on, diminished,
and finally were lost to sight.
Stumbling down the ladder, at the imminent
risk of his neck, the old fellow hobbled away to
"That's right! cried the latter-Never tell me
dogs cannot speak--"I saw them. And I tried to
tell you all about it, only you wouldn't listen, you
old dunderhead! Let me go, and I'll soon show
you which way they went."
A few seconds later Roybon was stumping along
the dusty road in pursuit of the runaways.
He had not proceeded far when his steps were
arrested by a thunderous Halloo! "
He turned, and beheld a man of mighty stature
making hurriedly after him.
A Strange Encounter 77
For some time the two men were seen by
the labourers afield in eager talk, accompanied by
In the end, as it appeared to the distant on-
lookers, the mammoth of a man gained the point
for which he was contending, whatever that might
have been, for Roybon thereafter slackened his
pace to a leisurely stroll, Nipper meanwhile career-
ing with loud and sounding bark before him as
though impatient at the slow progress his master
"STUMPING ALONG THE DUSTY ROAD."
T HE fair was proceeding right merrily in the
quaint old market-place. All was life, colour,
and jollity. There were wild beast shows with
the animals roaring inside, and tame beast shows
with the performers yelling outside. There were
long rows of stalls, filled to the point of bursting with
every imaginable lure under the sun, all tinselled and
bedecked with a cheap flashiness which made the
eye wink again. There were merry-go-rounds going
round merrily to the tune of an organ and the
laughter and screams of the riders. There were
swings by the score, creaking and groaning in the
harshest discord. There were tin rabbits and tin
ducks in the shooting galleries to be shot at, grin-
ning Aunt Sallies to be shied at, and Punchinello
shows to be laughed at. There were iron-voiced
and brazen-faced "professors" of palmistry and of
phrenology, cheap-jacks, and birds of like feather-
town hawks every one of them-flown hither to
prey upon the country pigeon. There were dogs
All the Fun of the Fair 81
which walked on their hind-legs like men, and men
who walked on all fours like dogs. Men bawled,
women screamed, girls giggled, boys shouted, wild
beasts roared, dogs barked, bands played, swings
creaked, guns popped, and flags fluttered. Not one
animate or inanimate object in the fair was silent
for the fraction of a second.
Never was enjoyment more complete than the
enjoyment afforded the runaways by this scene of
fun and frolic.
Jimmy was so lost in bewilderment that he said
never a word, but stared with all his eyes.
Paul, on the other hand, who could never see
any buffoonery without at once attempting to imitate
it, went about mimicking the drolleries of the clowns
in an ecstasy of delight.
In this spiritual enjoyment an hour slipped
Nor was the freshness of glad surprise yet lost.
About this time, however, Paul's glance chanced
to light upon a stall piled high with every descrip-
tion of eatable dear to a boy's heart.
He was at once reminded that there existed
beneath his vest a practical void which required
Nothing could have been easier for him than
to have satisfied his hunger forthwith. He pos-
82 A Feast in Prospect
sessed, as he had repeatedly stated, the sum of
fourpence, and for fourpence, at a village fair, one
"AN UNMISTAKABLE VILLAIN.
"AN UNMISTAKIABLE VILLAIN."
may buy enough to make the place where the void
existed feel very uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, however, as he stood before the
The Lottery 83
stall feasting his eyes on the many good things, and
experiencing no little difficulty in making a definite
choice, his glance fell upon a horizontal disc painted
black and red and surmounted with a large brass
This contrivance was a game of chance, at which,
if one happened to be lucky, a feast might be had
Paul's passion for gambling was strong, and he
fell a victim to the temptation. With a fluttering
of the heart which was new to him-what was
"chuck-farthing" compared with this ?-he placed
a penny on the red.
The proprietor of the stall, an unmistakable
villain whose most pressing need was the "cat,"
seized the needle and spun it smartly.
Round and round it flew, the eye of the game-
ster sparkling meanwhile with pleased excitement.
Gradually the needle slackened its pace. Slower
and slower it moved. At length it stopped, pointing
to the black.
Paul drew a long breath, and almost instantly
drove it forth again.
He had lost his first penny.
"Close thing that, sir!" exclaimed the man.
"Thought you'd got me that time. Better try your
luck again, sir! "
84 The Fatal Charm oJ Gambling
"Oh, Paul, don't! please don't!" cried Jimmy,
who had been looking on in some alarm.
Paul's only answer was to savagely dig his little
counsellor in the ribs with his elbow.
Then he put down his second penny-on the
black this time.
Again the needle was spun, and again he lost.
Bit of bad luck that, sir!" said the brigand,
attempting to smother a grin which made his evil
countenance more evil-looking still. "Try again.
You're bound to win this time."
Paul's face had become very white, not to say
green, and he continually gulped and swallowed at
the lump which rose in his throat.
Despite his companion's entreaties to leave the
place while he still had twopence left, he defiantly
threw his third penny on the red.
Again he lost.
"Well, I never did see such luck!" cried the
man. "Never mind, sir. It must change some
Had Paul been only half as sharp as he thought
himself, he would have noticed that, as the needle
slackened its pace, the man passed one hand under
the counter for the purpose of seizing the lower end
of the pivot in order to direct the point away from
the colour on which the penny lay.