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DACE eL it Thee Vie
THE LITTLE V.C.
NELSON AND SONS
London, Edinburgh, and New York
THE LITTLE V.C.
HELEN MARION BURNSIDE
AUTHOR OF â€œTHE Lost LETTER; OR, THE ADVENTURES OF A soeenas STAMP,â€
Â© Great may he be who can command
And rule with just and tender sway,
Yet is diviner wisdom taught
Better by him who can obey.â€ 7 it
A. A. PROCTER.
T. NELSON AND SONS
London, Edinburgh, and New York
â€œ1 â€œOUR TED,â€ 4... ae eee â€œ9
â€˜IL, THE STORY OF THE STANDARD, _ .... er 16.
1, â€œTERRIBLE TED,â€ bn eee wed a
Iv. BUGLER BROWN, te his wig BE
V, TEL-EL-KEBIR, .... oe ae 49 -
VI. THE LITTLE V.C., * as ae fae FEL.
WILLIE DALEâ€™S TRIAL, Â° Sa sake ase 72
LITTLE MOTHER MAY,â€™ me ne wl abe BBS
Tie: LITT LE Ve
OOD-DAY, sergeant.â€ Â° ee
An old Chelsea pensioner, who was >
pottering with his one hand in his little strip. :
of garden, straightened himself up as â€˜quickly â€”
as he could, and saluted with an expression of ~
delighted surprise on his rugged old face.
. â€œGood-day, general,â€ he returned, grasping
the hand stretched out to him with atontions
â€œT did not know you were back in town, sir.â€ .
~ Â© Cameâ„¢ yesterday, bag and: baggage; we're â€”
in the â€œold rooms in the Terrace at present.
How. goes the world with you, old Biond? :
10 â€˜OUR TED.â€
â€œAs well as age and rheumatism permit,
general. I was wishing just now that my old
back was a bit more lissom-like, for thereâ€™s a
deal wants doing in this plot of mine before
the winter. Ah, here comes our Ted, my
grandson, general ; he promised to run round
and water them dahlias for me, as he often
does, bless him !â€
_ A boy in the uniform of the Duke of Yorkâ€™s
Military School.came running up the broad,
, sunny walk at headlong speed, and seizing the
frail old soldierâ€™s single arm with his small,
brown hands, squeezed it affectionately.
â€œHere I am, granâ€”a bit late, I know;
but thereâ€™s been a parece at Duke oâ€™ Yorkâ€™s,
and I couldnâ€™t get away.â€
_ â€œWhereâ€™s your manners, , Ted ? Donâ€™t you
see Iâ€™ve company, boy?â€ _
Ted faced round and saluted. â€œ Beg pardon, .
sir; I was in a hurry, and did not see you.â€
And he raised a pair of honest blue eyÃ©s to
_the generalâ€™s face.
â€œThis is my poor sonâ€™s lad, general,â€ said _
the sergeant. â€˜Him as you were good enough
ert Â© OUR TED.â€ Bee
to get into Duke oâ€™ Yorkâ€™s, yonder.â€”I donâ€™t
know what you've done with your manners
to-day, boy,â€ he grumbled, turning to his Â©
grandson. â€œYou might speak a word of
gratitude to his honour, who has been so
good to us all, as his father was before hin.â€
The lad coloured shyly. He knew all about
the general, the hero of his childish heart, but
had never met him before. He looked himâ€™ ~~
straight in the face as he again raised his Â©
hand to his cap. â€œI do thank you, sir,â€ heâ€™
said simply. eg
The general steadily returned the boyâ€™s
gaze, and then laid his hand kindly on his â€” :
shoulder. â€˜You are the son of a brave man, =
my boy, and the grandson of a brave man, >.
too, as these testify,â€ he added, glancing kindly
at the sergeant, and lightly touching with his
gloved finger, first the empty sleeve pinned ~
across his breast, and then the medals above
ii â€œYou come of a good stock. What do
you think of doing with yourself?â€
â€œSoldier, sir,â€ replied Ted instantly, and
_with such decision that the general laughed.
12 a - â€œoor TED.â€ A te
Â« A chip of the old block, I see, sergeant.â€”
â€˜There, get along with you, lad, and put your
back into the gardening,â€ and he nodded |
_ kindly to the boy, who with a sudden increase
of shyness seized the watering-pot, and sent a
deluge of water over his grandfather's toes.
- The old soldier turned away. The general
was twenty years younger than the sergeant,
and straight and.alert as a boy, but no longer
-a young man, for all that.:
â€œA fine lad, sergeant,â€ he remarked, as
they strolled down-the broad, central walk of
- the hospital grounds, and seated themselves
on a sunny bench; for there was nothing the
general liked better than a chat with the Â©Â»
veteran colour-sergeant, while such chats =
were the crowning delight of the old fellowâ€™s â€” :
life. â€˜A fine lad, a true chip of the old block,
as I said just now, and he knows his own mind,
too. What*sort-of character does he bear ?â€
Â« Well, general, it isnâ€™t me as should answer: -
that question, being his grandfather, and par
tial, for heâ€™s all Iâ€™ve got left, you see; but since Â©
you ask me, I should say a better lad never
â€œOUR TED.â€ | 13
iSped A. right. down honest, God. fearing
lad, with his heart in the right place, is our
Ted, and: so gentle and loving to his poor
mother and me. But still; boys will be boys;
and Ted: has his faults like the rest.â€ .
â€œMay I ask what they are?â€
â€œHe likes his own way just a bit, general.
â€œHe's wilful and heâ€™s thoughtless. The captain.
yonder at Duke 0â€™ Yorkâ€™s says he lets -his
spirits run away with him, and he leads ie
other youngsters into mischief.â€
â€œT see. . A bit of a pickle,â€ remarked the
general, smiling under his heavy, griaaled
â€œThat's it, general. His mother worrite 7
sadly about it; but thereâ€”itâ€™s only his spirits, a
cas I tell her,â€ returned the sergeant, half proud Â«
- and half apologetic ; on sober down fast 3
enough asâ€™ time goes on.â€
Yes, yes. But discipline is discipline all
2 the more because boys are boys, my old friend,
â€˜as no one knows better than yourself. How- |
ever, Tl have another talk with you: aboutâ€™.
ae Ted whilst Iâ€™m in town.â€
14 he * Â© OUR â€œTED.â€
With a cheery nod General Frazer marched
off, leaving the old sergeant to nod over his
pipe in the sunshine. He threw a keen glance
over to the boy as he passed him, still busy
amongst the dahlias, and smilÃ©d again to
himself as he did so, for Tedâ€™s bright face had
taken his fancy, as it did that of many people.
Sergeant Brown had fought under thÃ©
general's father. They had been boys together
_ â€˜in the same village; and when young Squire
Frazer went off soldiering, young Brown must
- needs enlist in the same regiment. The poor
-.. young squire, however, was killed in his first
- engagement, leaving a girl wife and infant son
â€”our general. The only son of Sergeant
Brown, in his. turn, enlisted under General
Frazer. He was a thorough soldier, and a brave
- man, but weak in health.. He became attached
to a young girl, the maid of a lady on board
~ the same ship, on the passage home from India
on sick leave, and imprudently married herâ€”
imprudently, for poor Brownâ€™s health was so
completely shattered by many years of Indian _
- service that he died within two years of his =
OURSTED. â€œ|: 15
marriage, leaving a baby sonâ€”our Ted. There
were therefore many ties of long-tried affection
and mutual service uniting the family of the .
general with the humble one of the Browns,
the sons of the latter having so faithfully. fol-
lowed the fortunes of the former, and there â€”
having been so much similarity of fate.
| CHAPTER ie
THE STORY OF THE STANDARD.
HERE was nothing our Ted loved better
than what he called â€œrummaging aboutâ€
-_ Chelsea Hospital. He. knew every nook and
corner of the old place, and everything in it;
and whenever he could get leave of absence,
- or a holiday which was unoccupied by school.
~~ duties, he was generally to be found there.
He was, however, one of the crack buglers inâ€™ ~
the school band, for he had a great love for
. music, and also a sweet. tenor voice; besides
which, his pluck and strength made him an Â©
adept in games, so that he could not always,
_ be spared. Not infrequently his mother and Â©
grandfather might be seen stationed outside
the railings of the playground, eagerly watch- .
THE STORY OF THE STANDARD. - 17 Â©Â»
ing the games or drill of the sturdy youngsters ~
within ; and they would stroll away again quite
content if they had been able to catth a glimpse
of, or.exchange a few words with, their lad,
whose superior merits they would at such â€”
times discuss, but on quite. different grounds
â€”the old soldier dwelling on Tedâ€™s pluck,.
spirit, and activity, on his straight well-set-up
young form and soldierly quickness, whilst the. es
timid and rather querulous mother admired
his sweet voice, handsome face, and loving dis- _ 2
position, and talked of the time when he would
come home to live with her, and turn his Â©
book-lÃ©arning to some account, and perhaps join â€” |
a volunteer bandâ€”if â€œ granâ€ thought it safe !
Chelsea Hospital was much nearer to the |
Duke of Yorkâ€™s than his motherâ€™s home, â€˜so a
~ Ted would often beg her to meet him there in: .
preference to spending all his time in a â€™bus:
getting to Camden Town and back; and.as he
said, it was more of a change for her.
One wintry afternoon Ted and his mother *
were visiting the hospital, and, with the ser- Â°
â€˜geant, had. wandered into. the chapel, where Â«
ge 78 ae 2 : : "
18 THE STORY OF THE STANDARD.
the boy was pointing out to her, in the tone of
awe which he always fell into on such occa-
_ sions, the various tattered banners which Bung
from the wall.
â€œIn my opinion they want a good dusting |
and shaking,â€ said Mrs. Brown; â€œand many ~
of them would be the better for beingâ€™ burnt
_ up and replaced by new ones. Why, just look
at this: itâ€™s fairly dropping to bits with age ~
and dust.â€ |
Had the -good woman proposed to burn
up the chapel itself, Ted and his grandfather
could not have exchanged glances of greater
â€œWhy, mother, how can you?â€ exclaimed -
Ted. â€œThese banners were all taken from the
enemy in some great battle, and I'll be bound,
lots of fellows lost their lives in guarding this
.â€œThe more foolish they,â€ muttered Mrs.
â€˜Brown, who, considering that she was a
soldier's widow, was sadly wanting in miliary.
ardour and patriotism.
â€œYou are right, boy,â€ returned the ser- â€”
THE STORY OF THE STANDARD. 19
geant, not heeding Mrs. Brownâ€™s remark.
â€œMore gallant fellows were laid low beneath -
-that banner than any other that hangs here.
"Tis the great Eagle standard of the French,
taken single-handed at the battle of Waterloo
by Sergeant Ewart of the Scots Greys.â€
â€œ Single-handed ? gis did he do it? Do. :
tell us all about it, gran.â€
â€œThe standard was considered sacred by is
French army, who regarded it with almost -
superstitious reverence. It was guarded by
the bravest of the brave, the 15th Regiment,
which had earned the name of â€˜ the Invincibles:â€™
Tis gay folds have floated over many a battle-
field, and the Frenchmen had come to believe
that it could not be taken, or its guards van-
quished ; but when the Scottish regiment of â€”
Royal Dragoons, known as â€˜the terrible Scots
Greys,â€™ thundered down upon them from Mont va
St..Jean at the battle of Waterloo, they â€˜had .
_to tell a different tale, for the banner, still .
floating over the heads of its hitherto invin-
cible guard, caught the eye of a certain gallant
young Sergeant Ewart, who proposed +o â€˜his.
20 THE STORY OF THE STANDARD.
comrades to capture it. Shouting their war-
ery of â€˜Scotland for ever!â€™ they succeeded in
reaching its neighbourhood after performing
feats of extraordinary valour. Then Ewart,
rushing on, fought his way single-handed -
. through the remnant of its resolute defenders,
seized the banner, and carried it off the field in
triumph. He was afterwards promoted to a_
commission for this brave deed. The generalâ€™sâ€™
lady put the story into verse, and gave me a
copy of it.â€
â€œOQ gran, do read it to us,â€ cried Ted,
who had drunk in the story of -heroism with
crimson cheeks, and sparkling . â€œyes intently
fixed on the old banner.
â€œWell, come away up, and I'll see about
it,â€ replied the sergeant, who had himself
read the well-thumbed copy of verses in).
question till he could almost have said them |
off by heart.
The trio proceeded up the stone stairs into.
a long, bright-looking corridor, and seated â€œ
themselves near a fire just outside what Ted â€”
was wont to call â€œgranâ€™s own den.â€ Mrs. _
THE STORY OF THE STANDARD. â€” 21
Brown would, to say the truth, have preferred
to turn over and set in order, according to her:
own ideas, her father-in-lawâ€™s few. possessions,
but Ted would hear of her doing nothing but
sitting idly, with his hand in hers; so she ~
composed herself Â¢o listen, and the sergeant,
setting â€˜his wide-rimmed glasses firmly on his
nose, drew in his chair -and commenced to
read with much gusto :â€”
â€œTar Story OF THE STANDARD.
** Never, sure, was prouder trophy on a field of battle won
Than the flag whose folds so stately glittered in the summer sun,
.When Napoleonâ€™s brave legions, and the hosts of valiant Ney,
Faced the men of Merry England, on that sad but glorious day. Â©
â€œ Come and gone has many a summer since this tattered banner flew
Oâ€™er-the heads of Britainâ€™s foemen, on the field 6f â€˜Waterloo ;
And the barley waves its tresses, and the light-poised poppies dance,
Where our stalwart English gunners once mowed down the men of
** Jena, Austerlitz, and Friedland had, in fights but late gone by, ,
Seen that well-known Eagle standard pains scathless, proud, and
And again arrayed beneath it, midst the gleam of sword and lance,
_ Pressed the yet unconquered squadronâ€”the â€˜Invinciblesâ€™ of France. -
$s Where the battle smoke was thickest, where the guns, athirst for
Laid their foemen low the fastest, had that famous squadron stood ; _
-And the Frenchmen eae fancied that the fight for them was
â€˜When, theirâ€™ Eagle oâ€™er fhiaia flying, the Tnyinetbles? came on.
22 THE STORY OF THE STANDARD.
* To the earth fell gallant Picton, neâ€™er, alas! to rise again, - at:
And at every rattling volley higher grew the heaps of slain, .
Friend and foe together falling in the stern embrace of death,
Shouting fierce, defiant war-cries as they breathed their latest breath.
** Onward swept the awful reapers for a little space, and then;
Like an ocean wave advancing, came the dauntless Scottish men ;
And the pick of Franeeâ€™s army lost at. length its laurel crown,,.
When from Jeanâ€™s green heights upon them the dragoons came
Â« High above the roar of battle, through its pall of lurid laze,
Rang the shrill defiant war-cry of the â€˜ terrible Scots Greys ;â€™
And the stern delight of battle grew in brave young Ewartâ€™s eyes
~ As he Yowed that sacred banner soon or late should be his prize.
â€˜Â¢ Proudly yet on high it floated: sword nor shot their course could stay ;
- Over piles of dead and dying, on they held their blood-stained way,
Till the hand of daring Ewart on the banner staff was laid, .
And its price the last defender. with his life-blood dearly paid.
~ Â© ThÃ©re were sounds of solemn triumph in the British camp that night
As the worn and weary victors straggled in from field of fight,
And before their stern commander, Englandâ€™s â€˜Iron Duke,â€™ laid down
The proud trophy that had covered Ewartâ€™s name with high renown.
* But their hearts were full of sorrow, and their brows were black
with gloom, â€˜
For the true and valiant comrades who would never more march home,
For the homes their dear-bought conquest had made desolate that day, Â©
For the widows and the orphans.in the home-land far away. â€˜
â€œ Oft at eve in Merry England, when the fires of winter blaze;.
Folk still talk of gallant Ewart of the â€˜terrible Scots Greys,â€™â€”
Tell of how he won the standard, tell of how he fought and slew,
By the score, its stout defenders on the field of Waterloo.
Â© And the boys of brave old Britain, sons of those who bled of old,
Feel their hearts grow hot within them when the glorious tale is:told
That shall nerve them in the future noble deeds to darÃ© and do,
And to fight in lifeâ€™s long battle like their sires at Waterloo.â€
â€˜THE STORY OF THE STANDARD. Pt
i "QO gran, what a splendid man! what a
splendid deed !â€ cried Fed, who, in his excite-
ment as the story proceeded, had: risen, andâ€™
now stood with his hand on his grandfatherâ€™s
knee. Several of the pensioners had gathered â€”
round to listen and clap their hands softly,
while they regarded the boy benevolently, for.
they were all fond of Ted, and delighted: in
his enthusiastic love of brave deeds. â€œI never af
heard anything so grand before. Iâ€™d give Â©
the rest of my life to do a thing like that
Did Ewart get the Victoria Cross?â€ ,
Phere were no Victoria Crosses in these ee
days, boy. Queen Victoriaâ€”God bless her ! ee
wasnâ€™t pore then. He gota commission, as I
- told you.â€
' â€œIT mean to win a Victoria Cres one of
_ these days; see if I donâ€™t,â€ said Ted, nodding
to the company at large. ;
â€œ Deeds, not words, Fed, should be a ike ae
dierâ€™s motto,â€ returned the old mar with a
warning look. â€œ But we haven't quite finished | .-
the poem yet ; hereâ€™s a bit more that motherâ€™ll
like to hear.â€ â€”
24 ~ - THE STORY OF THE STANDARD. /
* By the peaceful sunlit river, where the sails go up and down,
Just a stoneâ€™s-throw fromâ€™ the turmoil and the rush of London town,
Stands the ancient cloistered homestead where our veterans, maimed,â€™
and grey, dp :
Rest from heat and toil of battle, at the close of lifeâ€™s long day. /
_ Â© And that banner, torn and faded, hangs within the chapel now, |
Where: the lights from painted windows on its tattered glories glow,
And the weary, war-worn heroes bend their hoary heads to pray
N eath the proudly-cherished trophy of that ne re forgone day,â€”
â€˜Â© Ti] they answer to the roll-call that shall muster them at last,
When the shades of night are falling, and the long dayâ€™s work is past; ~
Till they see the bright dawn breaking, in the land where war
And the en bids them welcome to His Scie peace.â€
â€œYes, I like that now,â€ said Mrs. Brown
tearfully ; â€œthatâ€™s Christian, and peaceful, and
comforting-like. Thatâ€™s where your dear father
has gone, Ted, and where I hope and pray
we shall all go some day.â€
â€œT can cheerfully say â€˜ Amenâ€™ to that,â€ pat
in the sergeant, and his daughter-in-law went -
â€œ But I wonder at you, father, putting dan-
gerous ideas into the ladâ€™s head with them
wild, heathen soldier-stories, that I do. I
never had no opinion of soldiers myselfâ€”par -
don my saying this, gentlemenâ€”though I did
go and marry the dear fellow thatâ€™s gone, and
THE STORY OF THE STANDARD. 25.
never repented it neither ; but then he died
decently in his own bed, through getting. his
liyer grilled â€˜in â€˜that areeche Tne, as I ne
my hoy will do the same.â€™
_ â€œWhat! get his liver grilled?â€ asked the
- sergeant dryly.
â€œNo, die in his bed, of course,â€ â€™ returned ;
Mrs. Brown; â€œbut in the common course. of
nature we'll all of us be gone before his time~ =
comes,â€ and she laid her hand lovingly on - '
Now though the veteran regarded â€œMrs: ea
_ Brown with all due affection and respect, both ~
as a woman and as his sonâ€™s widow, and per-
haps most of all as the mother of Ted, the
- apple of his old eye, he could not always listen
with patience to her opinions on his profes-
sion. â€œSheâ€™s one of the best of women, and. -
has been the best of mothers to the little
lad,â€ he would say to his comrades, â€œbut she. .
is damping in her ideas, mates ; thatâ€™s where it
is. Thereâ€™s no denying sheâ€™s rather damping.â€
~The old fellows smiled and shook their
- heads. They knew Mrs. Brown and her
26. THE STORY OF. THE STANDARD.
peculiarities as well as her father-in-law did;
' and to them, as well as to herself, it was
nothing short of a mystery that such a.woman
should have married into a martial family
like the Browns. Ted himself instinctively ~
avoided talking to her about his military
hopes and aspirations : it would be time enough
to tell her when the time came, he thought to
himself... It being then the hour for visitors
to leave, the sergeant gave his â€œdampingâ€
- daughter-in-law his single arm, and conducted
her downstairs and to the hospital gates with a
_: kindness and courtesy which would have done
credit. to that most. courteous of gentlemen,
the general himself, Master Ted â€œletting off
the steam,â€ as he called it, by sliding down
the banister and turning coach-wheels across
. the courtyard. ; J
A. FEW days before the commencement of Â©
the Christmas holidays, sad news went â€˜-
forth from the Duke of Yorkâ€™s School both to. â€”
the hospital and the little home in Camden
â€˜Townâ€”news which made Widow Brown tie
on her bonnet with trembling fingers, and
sent the old Chelsea pensioner off to the
school at a quicker pace than he had been â€”
known to walk at for many a year, in order to
â€œlearn the rights of it,â€™ as he said, from the~
~ corporal at the lodge. The news was this:â€”
Boy Brown, the bugler, was laid up in the â€”
hospital of the school. with a broken. collar-
bone, having previously broken the head of
another â€œDukie,â€ and half killed him. Boy
28 _ . TERRIBLE TED.â€
Brown was also charged with having been Â©
_ guilty of serious insubordination. Breathless __
with haste.and tremulous with anxiety, the -
old sergeant arrived at the lodge, where the
corporal, who knew him well enough, guessed
instantly what had brought him.
â€œYou've no cause to be anxious, Sergeant
Brown,â€ he said kindly. â€œThe ladâ€™s going on
-as well as possible; heâ€™ll soon be about again.â€
â€˜And the other oneâ€”the one he fought
with? For Godâ€™s sake, corporal, tell me the |
rights of it. My \ad fighting and insubordin-
ate! I canâ€™t take it in at all.â€
_ â€œSit you down, old friend, and I'll tell you .
as far as I know. Thereâ€™s noâ€˜call for anxiety,
â€˜as I said, and, between you and me, nothing
to be ashamed of. Fighting there was, and
insubordination there was, but not what you ~
think.. My word, Boy Brownâ€™s made of the. _
right stuff! Well, it seems the youngsters .
got up a sham fightâ€”play-acting somÃ©thing
_ or other in the drill ground between his com-
pany and another. He was so hot at it that
he never heeded â€˜the bugle call to work, and
â€œTERRIBLE, TED.â€ 29."
the other youngsters were so carried away by
_. his spirit that they never heeded it either, nor
_. the monitor coming back to warn them. ~
There was a tremendous scrimmage just at the â€”
â€˜last, you see, and Boys Brown. and Gordon.
got hurt before the thing could be put a stop
to ; a lot of the others got pretty hard knocks
in the fray.â€ 2
â€œTt. wasnâ€™t a fight only between the two; Es :
thenâ€”not a quarrel ?â€ ;
â€œ Bless your heart, no! The pair of them
were lying on the ground when the command-
ant and others came hurrying out, Brownâ€™ â€”
waving a bit of a stick with a handkerchief -.
tied to it with-the one hand he could: use, ~
shouting â€˜Scotland for ever!â€™ and calling on
Gordon to get up and shake hands, tilt he sawâ€™
the poor lad was knocked senseless with a cut. A
on the head. He went into a mighty quan- â€”
dary then, and wouldnâ€™t have his own hurt =
looked to till the doctor had brought Gordon, :
round and said he wasnâ€™t badly hurt. When â€”
they picked hirn up and carried him into the â€”
hospital, he held on to his flag like a bull- Â»
80 â€œTERRIBLE TED.â€
dog ; and there it i is, they tell me, , stuck up by
the side of his bed.â€
A light broke in upon the sergeant. Mas-
ter Ted had got up a mimic â€œfight for the
standard.â€ The old fellow felt rather guilty.
Tedâ€™s mother had been justified in reproaching
him for putting ideas into their boyâ€™s head, he
._ thought ; but for the present he kept his own
â€œThe young scamp! Â«Who'd have thought â€”
: of this?â€ he muttered. The sergeant and
the corporal regarded each other with a
twinkle of grave amusement in their eyes as
they shook hands; and having obtained per-â€”
mission to visit his grandson next day, the
~ Close to the gates he came upon his
daughter-in-law, who had just alighted from
. a "bus in a condition of tearful affright. To
her he made very light of the whole matter.
He had pictured to himself the â€œ dampingâ€ Ã©
â€˜nature of the scene that would take place if â€œ=:
once she took in the real facts of the case, and, ~
brave soldier as he was, his spirit quailed
Ã© TERRIBLE TED,â€ NA ee a
- within him. The boys had just been too keen
for their play to heed the bugle, he told her.
Ted and another had been knocked down and .
hurt. They'd be all right again and able to
go home in a few days, and meanwhile were
as comfortable as possible and full of spirits ;
but the doctor would allow no one to visit. Ted
till the morrow. The widow was much com-
forted by this report, and, being in a hurry, ~
asked no further questions; so, with a sigh of
relief, the sergeant saw her into a "bus, men-
tally resolving, for reasons of his own, that his
visit to Ted on the morrow should be: paid
The sergeantâ€™s idea of the affection and
respect due to a mother from her son was a.
very high one, and he never lost an oppor-
tunity of impressing his views on Ted.
â€œLove and cherish your mother as she has |
loved and cherished you, my lad,â€ he would
- say; â€œ wait upon her as she has waited on you, *
. and never vex her Gf you can help it. - Soy
â€œor manâ€”to say nothing of a soldierâ€”oneeâ€™ .
-. daughtâ€˜his duty as you have been taught yours, a
ao â€˜TERRIBLE TED.â€
_ has no excuse for not treating a woman as &
gentleman should, whatever station in life he
may be in.â€ â€˜
_ No word had ever passed between the boy
and his grandfather on the subject, but they
both knew in their hearts that Tedâ€™s hopes
and wishes of enlisting would bitterly pain and
. disappoint his mother, and they had hitherto
_ simply avoided the subject; but now the time _
was come, the sergeartt thought, that, from a
- word dropped here and there, she should be
brought to see what was inevitable. The won-
der was that, trained as Ted had been, and
brought up in the midst of the strongest
military influences, she should think any other _
result possible. â€˜He. hoped that this escapade
of Tedâ€™s might somehow be made to serve as
the thin edge of the wedge. ~
Early in the next afternoon the, sergeant
stumped up the hospital stairs to the ward i in ,
"which his graridson was lying, pale and
propped round with pillows, and with a gay
â€™â€œgearlet covering concealing the bandaged arm .
and shoulder.. Ted eagerly stretched out his
â€œ TERRIBLE TED.â€ 33
left hand to his visitor with his usual bright
-smile: Now the sergeant had intended to be
very sternâ€”he indeed raised a reproving finger
and shook his head as he looked down on the
face he loved best ; but Ted only smiled.
â€œYes, I know all about it, gran,â€ he said ;
â€œyou need not pretend to be angry. The
commandant and the chaplain have both been â€”
here. I was wilful and heedless and dis-
_ obedient, I know, just as they said, and Iâ€™m |
sorry, and when Iâ€™m well I'll take my punish-
ment like a man; but, gran, I couldnâ€™t help
it. If it was all to come over again, I couldnâ€™t â€”
leave off at that moment to save my lifeâ€”no,
nor Gordon either.â€”Could you, old fellow 2â€
. And he nodded towards an opposite bed, in
- which lay another boy with his head bandaged. _
â€œT should think not, indeed. Why, I heard
the bugle well enough, but I couldnâ€™t have let.
go the banner staffâ€”not' if the Queen her-
self had come and told me to, which she
wouldnâ€™t. I know sheâ€™d have let us fight it
out,â€ heâ€™added confidently.
_ â€œHush! hush! You are speaking very:
GN 3 s 4
84- â€˜P)ERRIBLE TED.â€
wrongly as well as foolishly,â€ interrupted the
â€˜sergeant in real displeasure. â€œI am surprisedâ€™
to â€˜hear you say such things, and you both
_intending to be soldiers. Why, my lads, you
know as well as I do that obedienceâ€”disci-
pline, that isâ€”is the very first and most impor-
tant lesson a soldier has to learn; all other
good qualities are as nothing without that as
Ted fidgeted and looked uncomfortable.
â€œSuppose, gran, a thing is a right.and good
thing to do; are you to leave it undone because
some one else tells you not to do it?â€
â€œHeyday!â€ cried the sergeant, in a tone |
that brought the colour into the boyâ€™s cheeks;
â€œa fine soldier you'll make indeed, my lad, if
themâ€™s your sentiments! Who made you a
judge of right, boy?â€ he went on in a softer
voice. â€˜A soldierâ€™s duty is so plain and clear,
he has no need to think for himself; he has
only to do as he is told by his superiors.
Now, tell me how all this happened, from
beginning to end.â€
â€œWell, gran, at the beginning, you see, it
â€œTERRIBLE TED.â€ 35.
was your doing. You began it,â€ said Ted,
with a roguish grin. â€œTI was just brimful of.
â€˜The Story of the Standardâ€™ when I came ~
home. I told it to Gordon there, and we got
our companies together, he and I, and ar-
* ranged we would act it over, just as it hap- â€
pened, the first opportunity we got. I and
my company were Ewart and the â€˜Terribles,â€™ a
you know, and Gordon was the standard ,
â€œbearer of the â€˜ Invinciblesâ€™ They didnâ€™t like
being Frenchies at first, but I talked them
over. We pretended thisâ€â€”taking up a staff .
which stood by his bed with a coloured hand-
kerchief attached to itâ€” was the Eagle stan-
dard. Well, gran, I and-my Terribles rushed Â°
- down from the little mound on the Invincibles, -
shouting â€˜Scotland for ever!â€™ . They beat us off,
and we'had a really splendid fight. â€˜Lots fell
on both sides ; but we got the best of it at last,
of course,-and Iâ€™d almost reached the standard
_ when the bugle rang out. We let it call, for
we couldnâ€™t stop. Iâ€™d stretched out my hand
to seize the staff, when crack, crack it came ~
_ down, on my shoulder and arm, and I felt an
36: â€˜TERRIBLE TED.â€
awful pain; but I hit out at Gordon with my
left fist,.and down he went like a shot, still â€”
holding on to the banner staff. I.wrenched
it from him andâ€™was making off, when I fell
over somebody and came down on my hurt:
shoulder. But I did win, and would have
died to do it.â€
â€œ All the same,â€ put in the. Invincible from
the opposite bed, wagging his bandaged head
at the victor, â€œyou ghouldnâ€™t have had it if I
hadnâ€™t been stunned. Iâ€™d have died for it too;
so you neednâ€™t crow so loud, Terrible Ted.â€
â€œWe'll try it over again some day,â€ promptly
returned our hero; â€œand oh, gran, we mean
to do the six hundred too! Weâ€™ve been plan-
ning it all out as we lay here.â€ .
â€œThe six hundred,â€ repeated the sergeant,
rather at sea. â€˜â€˜What are you. talking of
â€œWhy, you aes granâ€”the charge of the
Light Brigade at Balaklava.
â€˜Into 'the jaws of death rode thesix hundred.â€™ â€”
Thatâ€™s very nearly as splendid as Ewart.â€
ae â€œâ€˜TRRRIBLE TED.â€ 37
The: sergeant shook. his head. :
' â€œThis is all very fine talk, my boys; bat
Ted, I want you to be serious. Iâ€™ve no time
now for the wigging I meant to give you
about your'breach of discipline, for your poor
mother -will be here directly, and what we are.
to say to her about this scrape of yours I do
not know. You must expect her to be ve
damping, and I fear yond hurt and one her"
with your wild talk. .
Ted sobered down at once.
â€œNo, I wonâ€™t, gran. Poor mother! _ Of
course: I must tell her the truthâ€”that we were
acting a battle story. You know,â€ he went on
in a lower tone, â€œthe holidays are just be--
ginning, and while Iâ€™m at home I think it |
will be only fair to let her see, bit by bit, .
what's in my mind. Sheâ€™d take it so hard all â€”
at once. But oh, gran, I do wish mother
thought as you and I do about my going for -
a soldier !â€
â€œSo do I, my boy, but: tags past praying
for ; only remember, whatever you say or do,.
that sheâ€™s the best of women and aba
38 â€œTERRIBLE TED.â€
and donâ€™t hurt her feelings. You may be sure _
she never had a feeling that didnâ€™t do her.
credit, in spite of her being a bit damping now
and then. A man canâ€™t be too kind and care-
ful where a womanâ€™s feelings are concerned +
~remember that, Ted, my lad.â€
T was decided by the commandant that, â€”
considering the season, and that. -the
chief culprits had already suffered somewhat
severely from their hurts, and the cutting
short of their holidaysâ€”for both boys had to
spend Christmas in the hospital wardâ€”they
should be let off with a sharp, public repri-
mand. Gordon was able to go home a day
or two before Ted could be moved ; his grand-
_ father therefore had plenty of opportunity for
administering the promised â€œ wiggingâ€ in pri-
vate. â€œTerrible Tedâ€â€”for the nick-name stuck â€”
to Boy Brownâ€”indeed expressed much peni-_
tence for his disobedience, and. gave ready
promises of amendment; but his grandfather
40 BUGLER BROWN.
could not feel satisfied with the effect of his
eloquence, as the. boy did not seem to realize -
the real gravity of his fault, and would not â€”
look upon it in a serious light; so, having
turned the matter over in his mind, the old
soldier resolved to lay his perplexities before -
his friend the general, and rena an inter-. .
view for the purpose. to
- General â€˜Frazer listened attentively to the
rather long-winded tale poured into his ears.
His eyes lighted up, and the humorous smile
the sergeant knew so well curled his mous-
tache as he gave two or three sharp little
nods at the crisis of the story, and he laughed
outright when the old fellow dryly repeated
his grandsonâ€™s assertion that he had begun it.
â€œThe audacious monkeyâ€™!â€ he exclaimed ;
â€œupon my word he turned the tables on you
very cleverly ; but you must confess, sergeant, -
there: was some justice in the charge. You
throw sparks into this small powder magazine
â€˜of yours, and are then surprised at an explo-
sion. I really think you are most to blame,â€ â€”
and the general gave a comical glance.
BUGLER BROWN. 41
' â€œT begin to think I am,â€ was the rueful
reply ; â€œbut excuse me, general. I want you
to understand that the trouble in my mind is. ?
this. Reasonable as the youngster is, and bid-
dable too, as long as he keeps cool, I donâ€™t
somehow seem to be able to bring home to
him that insubordination is very, wrong. He
' listens to all that is said to him, and says heâ€™s
. sorry; but nothing that any one says to him
â€˜seems to go deep enough, or to take hold.â€ ,
The general nodded. â€œTI think I under-_
stand where the difficulty lies,â€ he returned
thoughtfully ; â€œhe has probably heardâ€™-too
much about it. It goes in at one ear and out
at the other, without, as you. say, coming .
home to him. I'll see what I can do with
him. T like the ladâ€™s spirit, sergeant ; thereâ€™s.
the making of a first-rate soldier in him, and Â°
he mustnâ€™t be spoiled for want of ballast, so to
ae Where is he now?â€ .
â€œ At Duke oâ€™ Yorkâ€™s for a day or oe longer,
peut oe 4
â€œWell, sergeant, I havenâ€™t forgotten my
promise regarding him, and have a scheme in
42 - BUGLER. BROWN.
my mind for getting him into the Nineteenth,
but Tl have a talk with the lad himself
before going any further.â€
- The general kept his word, and by atrange-
ment with the authorities went over to the
Duke of Yorkâ€™s, and hada long, private inter-
view with our hero. What took place at this
interview was sacred between the two. The
â€œgeneral himself never told, and his little
bugler could not be induced to reveal a word.
The matron saw he had been crying, and
afterwards declared that the generalâ€™s own
-eyes were moist when she went up to offer
his honour a cup of tea, and that he was
holding Boy Brownâ€™s hand in his as if he had
been his own son. That the interview bore
rich fruit in Tedâ€™s after life and story was.
proved by the boyâ€™s own conduct and devoted
love for the general. Y agd
â€œT could: find it in my heart to envy you
that grandson of yours, sergeant,â€ began the
general, when he went down to Chelsea to see
his old friend a few days later. â€œI have no
boy of my own, as you know, and my heart
BUGLER BROWN. ~~ 43
warms to this one of yours; you and his .
mother must let me have a share in him. I
think I can manage to get him into our regi-
mental band very shortly, if you and he are
willing.â€ . .
â€œ Willing, general! Why, itâ€™s the very thing
- Tâ€™ve hoped and dreamed of for him. I shall
have nothing left to wish for when the. last
â€˜musterâ€™s called, sir, if I can leave thÃ© dear ~
lad under your eye; but thereâ€™s his mother,â€
and the sergeant explained the difficulties
that lay before them in this direction.
The general looked grave. â€œThatâ€™sapity,a â€”
great pity,â€ he observed. â€œWell, sergeant, I
advise you simply to tell that â€˜Terrible Tedâ€™
of yours, and his mother, what I propose, and Â«Â©
leave them to settle the matter between them
during the holidays. It will be a thousand
pities if she does not hear reason, poor soul.
The boyâ€™s life will be spoiled if she, denies him
his desires. At the same time, we must not
encourage him to act in direct opposition to -
her wishes. That would be a bad beginning
indeed.â€ - ;
44> x - BUGLER BROWN.
_- The generalâ€™s proposal was laid before Ted
by his grandfather on the day before he was â€˜
pronounced well enough to go home, and no
sunbeam could have shone brighter than his
â€˜face as he jumped out of the "bus and ran.
into his motherâ€™s arms at the door of the little
home in Camden Town. - Never had he been _
so loving and cheery and helpful, and never
- had the widow felt so proud of him. It was
her great delight to show the little red-coated
. figure off to her friends, and talk to them of Â©
his good qualities ; but somehow, as the days
flew by, things did not go quite as Ted wished
and hoped. He made a point of dropping his
hints, as he had planned, and lovingly en-
deavoured to argue and coax away her opposi-â€”
tion; and finally he told her outright of the.
generalâ€™s offer, of his grandfatherâ€™s delight in
his prospects, and of his own anew desire .
~ for a military career.
- But, alas! it was quite a different Ted that
returned to the Duke of Yorkâ€™s when the
holidays came to an endâ€”a Boy Brown that
the â€œDukiesâ€ hardly recognized, who went .
BUGLER BROWN.- = 45
about his. work and play in a listless and -
- downcast manner, and was altogether un-~
satisfactory. Boy Brown had broken down .
in the anthem at chapel on Sunday morning,
it was rumouredâ€”his favourite anthem tooâ€”
â€œRest in the Lord, wait patiently for him;
and he shall give thee thine heartâ€™s desire.â€
It was quite true, that the little buglerâ€™s
sweet, clear voice faltered and broke, and he -
had been altogether unable to sing the last -:
few words; and when he went to visit his |
grandfather, who was ailing with rheumatics,
in the afternoon; Tedâ€™s trouble came out.
His mother had positively forbidden him to _
â€™ think any more of soldiering, and he had
-- given in. She had a scheme for apprenticing
him to a shoemaker when he left school, and
_the boy was just breaking his heart over the
disappointment of his hopes and dreams. .
The sergeant was â€œstruck all of a heap,â€
as he called it. That his daughter-in-law would
take on, and be more than usually damping,
he was prepared to hear; but he had never
thought that she would be so blind to her
46 on BUGLER BROWN.
sonâ€™s interests as absolutely to withhold her
consent when it came to the point. He
knew not what to advise. â€œItâ€™s very hard,
my boy; but cheer up, and bear it like a
man,â€ he said at last. â€œYou can be a man,
' even if you must be a shoemaker. Itâ€™s all
her love for you, Tedâ€”donâ€™t forget that; â€”
. you've done your duty, and no one can do
. more than that.â€ _
Ted went back a little bit cheered, and the
â€˜sergeant wrote one of his stiff little notes
requesting Mrs. Brown, on the score of his
rheumatism, to come and see him. This she
did ; and the old pensioner, confined to â€œgranâ€™s _
own den,â€ was painting for her a moving pic-
ture of Tedâ€™s trouble, when the general himself
came marching down the corridor. He had re-
~ . ceived a hint from the commandant, and saw
the situation and his opportunity at a glance.
He listened with patience and real sympathy
to the widow's tearful objections, and met
them one by one. He did not deny the hard-
ship of the matter from her point of view,
but put before her in the plainest terms the
BUGLER BROWN. | AT
injury which he believed would result to the
ladâ€™s character, to say nothing of his pros-
pects, if she finally decided against his wishes.
At length she began to give way. â€œI
- thought it was just the ladâ€™s wilfulness,â€ she
wailed, â€œand then his always being with
soldiers like. I never doubted but heâ€™d settle
down quite contented after a bit. Iâ€™m sure,
~your honour, I never meant to do the dear lad
â€œThen, Mrs. Brown, you will let us consider
the matter as settled. You will never repent
this day, I am sure. I promise to keep an eye
on the youngster and do my best for him.â€
â€œ And you'll think of a poor motherâ€™s feel-
ings, and not let him run into danger, your
â€œTl do what I can,â€ replied the general,
with an amused glance at the sergeant. â€œDo
you know, Mrs. Brown, I think it a grand
thing to be the mother of such a soldier as,
please God, your son will turn out. I wish I
had such a oneâ€™ of my own.â€
In a day or two the old sergeant was able
48 BUGLER BROWN.
to hobble acrossâ€™ to Duke of Yorkâ€™s, and make
Ted happy with the good news of his motherâ€™s
_ consent. A few weeks more, and Boy Brown ,
~ took leave of his envious fellow â€œ Dukies,â€ his
weeping mother, and proud old gran, and to
his own deep delight found himself a bugler
in the band of the 19th Hussars, oy Ports- Â©
â€˜HERE are some natures off which any-
thing of an evil nature will glide, like
drops of water from a duckâ€™s back, and leavÃ© |
no trace. Our Tedâ€™s was one of these. I do
not mean to say_that he was in any way a
prodigy of goodness or cleverness. He had as
many faults as most boys; but. he was, as his
grandfather had told the general, honest and
God-fearing. He had a kind and gentle heart,
and plenty of good sense; no one ever heard -
a, bad or untruthful word or an unkind speech
from Boy Brownâ€™s lips. He was also perfectly
fearless; and once convinced of his duty, he
would do it simply and with his mightâ€”solid.
good qualities which, together with his bright
- 50 TEL- ED-KEBIR.
spirits 4 sweÃ©t temper, made up a very
lovable whole. Ted quickly became quite as
popular in his regiment as he had been at
school. He enjoyed the life with his whole
heart; and cheery, loving letters would come
every week from Portsmouth either to the
little home in Camden Town or to grey old
Chelsea Hospitalâ€”letters that. were proudly
read and commented on by the old sergeant
and his comrades, and shown about by the
fond mother,to her various cronies. Once or
twice the general appeared with tidings of his
protÃ©gÃ©, and these were always satisfactory. _
Early in the spring news came of troubles
in the East, and in April it was announced
that the 19th Hussars, together with many
other regiments, were to sail for Alexandria.
' It therefore turned out that Sergeant Brown
and his daughter-in-law were amongst the
' crowds that gathered on the quay to take
leave of the soldiers on that fair, sunny morn-
ing on which the: British fleet sailed for the
seat of war; and many a sympathetic glance.
fell on the trim, soldierly little figure of the
TEL-EL KEBIR. â€œ1
bugler of the Nineteenth, in his gay trappings,
of whom the one-armed Chelsea pensioner and
the weeping woman he supported took such
a loving and sorrowful farewell. The kindly:..
general; too, spared a minute from his own
- leave-takings to grasp his old friendâ€™s hand and
speak a cheery word to the ladâ€™s mother. But
time and tide. mercifully cut short the scene,
-and very soon the great ships were ploughing
their way out to sea, with the meri y sunshine
flashing back from the gay. scarlet and gold of
the military trappings of the brave men that
crowded their decks, till distance swallowed
_them up, and only the sweet silvery notes of
the bugles, or the skirl of a bagpipe sent back
a last farewell to the slowly-dispersing grows
on shore. â€”
As soon as possible after the fleet anchored
at Alexandria in May, Tedâ€™s cheery little
letters began to arrive again, and the news-
papers teemed with news from the East. Â° Ted
was at the bombardment of Alexandria in .
July, and then began to write of the many
wonders of Cairo. He was in the best of
health and spirits, and threatened his mother Â°
with all kinds of extraordinary gifts, which
he et to bring home for her at Christ-
mas; for they would make very short work.
of the Egyptians, he wrote, and get back to
England before that time. 2
Then one bright September morning came
the welcome news of the battle of Tel-el-
_ Kebir, where the..Egyptians were repulsed
with so much loss, and where Arabi Pasha,
their general, though escaping for the moment,
was taken prisoner on the following day.
This was one of the most brilliant and dashing
- achievements of. the British army; and the
Chelsea pensioners, laying their wise white Â©
â€˜ heads together over the news, opined that it
had virtually brought the war to an end.
As we know, it did do so; but what about
our Ted and the general? That the 19th
- Hussars had been engaged was certain, but
there were weary hours of suspense before
the lists of killed and wounded were out.
General Frazer was safeâ€”a glance satisfied
the sergeant of this; but just at the end of
â€™ the list the other name he was looking for Â©
caught his eyeâ€”â€œ Brown, E., bugler of the
19th Hussars, wounded in the leg.â€ The
~ paper fell to the ground. The old sergeant
needed his one trembling hand to brush across
his eyes; but his comrades, thronging round,
eagerly pointed out to him that the dispatch
did not say â€œdangerously,â€ or even â€œseverely
wounded.â€ It might therefore be almost
After this no individual tidings of the
wounded could be received for some little
time. They were reported to have been re-
moved to Ismailia, and â€œdoing well.â€ But as
time went on a vague rumour got abroadâ€”no
- one could tell how, or with whom it aroseâ€”
that our Ted had distinguished himself, and .
_ was on the list of those mentioned for honours.
- Boy Gordon had: remarked to some one
through the iron railings of Duke of Yorkâ€™s
that â€œTerrible Ted- had gone and done it,
and no mistake,â€ and the â€œDukiesâ€ had been â€”
cheering at some grand news just received
of him. The sergeant scoffed at the ideaâ€”
54 TEL- EL- KEBIR,
a bit of a boyâ€”a little buglerâ€”no, noâ€”it was
utter nonsenseâ€”a mistake in nameâ€”Brown
was not uncommon, as everybody knew;
- but he wasnâ€™t going to deny that his boy
was as plucky a little chap as any going, for
all that. He was, however, secretly in a fever _
_ of impatience for letters; and when at last
they came, and two packets, one of which was ~
in Tedâ€™s well-known copperplate handwritingâ€”
â€˜not quite so copperplate as usual, he notedâ€”
were handed to him, the old fellow hurrahed
like a boy, and plumped himself down, spec-
tacles on nose, to read the precious letter, in
his eagerness letting the second one drop un-
heeded at his feet. It was a long letter,
written at intervals, and enclosing a shorter
_ one for his mother ; and Ted managed to give
his grandfather a fair idea of the movements
of the army, as far as he himself had seen it.
â€œWe started long before daybreak,â€ he wrote,
â€œand got over the six miles of desert between
us and the enemyâ€™s position at Tel-el-Kebir in
the dark. â€˜You see their position was known
to be so strong, and they were just twice as -
â€™ many asâ€˜ we were, that our loss would have
been so much greater if we had fought by day-
light. We were as quiet as mice ; no fires were
" allowed, not even smoking, and the formation
of the regiments was carried out by the little
light we could get from the stars. When all
was in readiness, our fellows made a charge
and stormed the enemyâ€™s works most splendidly ~~
at the point of the bayonet. You should have
seen the Highland Brigade and the Royal
Trish go for the foe, granâ€”not that one
could really see anything at the time. Nota
shot was fired till we were well within their |
lines, so the Egyptians were completely taken
by surprise ; they soon fell into confusion, and
began to run. In the thick of it I was lucky.
enough to see our general fall just as we came
up. Every one was running full speed after
the enemy, too eager to notice or help him,
but I couldnâ€™t leave him on the ground to be
trampled on. So I fell out (there was no one.
to give me orders). He did not stir, so I felt
sure he. was wounded, and I poked about in
i â€”_â€”e TEL-EL-KEBIR.
the dark to try and find a baggage horse; but
my head felt so. stupid for want of sleep, I
_., couldâ€™ find none at first (this was an infantry
ba ile on our side, you know, gran). But at
last I spied a stray beast, and led it to the gen-
eral. He was coming round then, and wasnâ€™t '
woundedâ€”only bruised and giddy-like. I
helped him to mount the horse; and what do
you think, gran? He made me mount behind
him! We had nearly caught up the main
body of our troops, when a shot from a
passing handful of the enemy struck my leg ;
and I soon got faint from loss of blood, and
knew nothing more till I found myself on a
canal boat going down to the hospital at
Ismailia. But the general is all right; heâ€™s
been to see me several times. Isnâ€™t it awfully
kind?â€™ The nurses and doctors are jolly kind
too, and â€˜my leg is getting on all right. Tell
mother not to worry: most likely we'll be
home by Christmas after all. Tell Gordon at :
Duke oâ€™ Yorkâ€™s itâ€™s better fun to be wounded
in a real fight than in a sham one. O gran, Â«.
our fellows were just splendid! I'll tell you o
TEL-EL-KEBIR. â€˜ 57
lots more when we meet.â€”Your loving grand-
gon, o> Tz.â€
The old sergeant sea this letter brokenly.
He had to stop many a time to wipe his glasses
and pettishly complainâ€˜of the draught from the |
window making his eyes weak ; and it was not â€”
_ till he had read it twice and was folding it up:
that he caught sight of the second packet on ~
the floor at his feet. â€œFrom the general him-
self!â€ he explained as he picked it up and _
tore it open. Yes, it was certainly from the eo
general, and this is what he wrote :â€” oe
â€œT know, my good old friend, that your ie
grandson is writing to you and his mother;
but I cannot forbear sending a line myself to
tell you what I am sure he will never doâ€”how
gallantly he has distinguished himself. Butfor
his pluck and coolness I should probably not
have lived to return home. I was struck on.
the head, knocked down, and trampled on by
the flying enemy in the darkness, unobserved Â©
by any. one, it appears, except your little lad,
58 . ee TEL+EL-KEBIR.
who saw me fall; and in spite of a rain of
bullets from detached parties of the flying foe,
he fell out, caught one of their baggage
horsesâ€”believing me to be woundedâ€”and
came to my aid. He even groped about and ~
secured a brandy flask, a sip from which
helped to revive me, for I was only stunned
and bruised. After he had assisted me to
~ â€˜mount, I made him get up behind me; and we
galloped off, and were almost in safety when
he was hit in the leg. He said nothing about
it, however ; and it was not until I had dis-
mounted amongst my own men, that I dis-
covered my gallant little bugler was insensible,
and bleeding terribly from his wound. He
was attended to at once, but I assure you I
â€œnever spent a more painful time of suspense
than. that I experienced before the surgeon
told me the wound was not of a dangerous .
character. A few days after his arrival in the
hospital at Ismailia, however, the wound as-
sumed a dangerous appearance, and there was ~
one day when we all feared the leg could not
be saved; but, thank God! the danger passed,
all safely back in Merry England, and I shall.
. TEL-EL-KEBIR, 59
said ho 3 is doing well. The boy has borne thÃ©
: suffering caused by the wound with a cheery
patience which has won'the hearts of both
doctorg and nurses, and the warm admiration
of his officers. Picture to yourself the little
fellow, heavy from want of sleep, and weak
from fatigue and lack of food, stumbling about
in the darkness under a dropping fire of bullets â€”
â€œto assist me. He isatrue hero. Yet, when =
I told him I had mentioned him for honours
in my dispatch home, he appeared thunder-
struck, and quite unable to realize that he had
done anything beyond his simple duty. Tell -
his mother from me she may indeed be proud Â©
of sucha son. I hope Christmas will see us
be able to shake you by the hand and congrat-
ulate you on being grandsire of the youngest
V.C. in the British army.â€
Overwhelmed by this astounding and in-.
credible news, the sergeant fell back in his
chair, the ruddy colour forsaking his face.
â€œNo, no; its good news, not- bad,â€ he
60... _ 'TEL-EL-KEBIR.
_ gasped, as his comrades pressed round him in
alarm. â€œRead, for surely my old eyes have â€”
not seen aright.â€ .
The letter was caught up and eagerly
scanned by halfa dozen pairs of spectacled eyes,
and one by one Tedâ€™s old friends grasped its
meaning. Then scores of war-worn hands
shook that of the sergeant, and the thin, waver-
â€œing cheer of the aged arose again and again as
the news spread. Sergeant Brownâ€™s ladâ€”little
Ted Brown of Duke of Yorkâ€™sâ€”had saved his
generalâ€™s life on the field of battle and won the
Victoria Cross !
THE TITTLE V.C.
ND to think, comrades,â€ said Sergeant â€”
Brown solemnly, when the excite-
ment had subsided, and he sat thoughtfully at -
the fireside still holding the precious letters in _
his handâ€”â€œ to think that only a year ago, just -â€
one short year, the lad stood herein this very
- room, with his bit of a hand on this old knee
â€˜ of mine, and said heâ€™d win the Victoria Cross c
one day or other, and I snapped him up sharp â€”
for talking boastful. -And now heâ€™s actually
gone and done it. I remember his mother sat _
in that very chair as he said it. Iâ€™d been readingâ€™ .
that bit of poetry the general's lady wrote about
the old Waterloo standard, you know.â€ oe
Se â€œYes, vee I remember well enough ser-"
62 THE LITTLE V.C. ~
geant,â€ replied a maimed and one-eyed corporal,
â€˜wagging his white head; â€œand you mark my
wordsâ€”if that there'story of yours wasnâ€™t the
beginning of the whole thing thatâ€™s burst upon
us now, like a bomb-shell, so to speak, why,
Iâ€™m a Dutchman. ' Didnâ€™t the little lad go.and
act it all over at Duke oâ€™ Yorkâ€™s, and get. him-
self into a scrape along with that audacious
. monkey, Drummer Gordon? It was the hear-
ing about that affair as gave General Frazer
a fancy for the lad, T'll go bail.â€
â€œWell, well, perhaps it was; perhaps I had
a finger in the pie. In fact, the youngster
had the impudence to lie there with his broken -
shoulder and tell me to my face that the be-
ginning of it lay at my door. My word, how
the general did laugh when I told him that!â€
_, And the old eyes twinkled at the remembrance.
â€œT wonder,â€ he went onâ€” I do wonder how -
our Tedâ€™s mother will take the news.â€
The next afternoon brought Mrs. Brown to
answer this question for herself. She had â€”
received Tedâ€™s letter, and the stiff, little note
from her father-in-law accompanying it, in
THE LITTLE Y.C. 63
which he hada in the fewest words stated the
"bare facts contained in the generalâ€™s dispatch.
_ She had looked in at the Duke of Yorkâ€™s on
her way. to the hospital, to hear what the
- corporal at the lodge had to say about the
matter.. He had cofifirmed the news, and
the whole school seemed to have gone wild |
with excitement about it. It was even said
that there was to.be a whole holiday i in honour ~
of Ted on his return home.
Once assured of the personal safety of her
boy, the widowâ€™s interest seemed to fens 4
Exactly what the Victoria Cross was she didâ€™ â€
not understand, neither had she grasped the
fact that in winning it Ted had done anything
specially out of the way. zs
For. once in his life the sergeant â€˜shied
himself impatient of his daughter-in-lawâ€™s
remarks. He felt their damping effect very Â©
keenly ; but he soon recovered himself, and ~
patiently explained to her the wonders of Tedâ€™s
achievement. Here again she wandered from
~ the point to bemoan her boyâ€™s sufferings and
_.. privations, till at last, followmg the happy
64 â€˜THE LITTLE V.C.
suggestion of one of their number, quite a
crowd of the old fellows escorted Mrs. Brownâ€ .
to the reading-room, Where a Victoria Cross,
carefully preserved in a glass case with many
other mementoes of brave deeds, was pointed
out to her with reverential finger, and she was
solemnly told the circumstances under which |
it was won.
Â«Well, if you ated me,â€ said Mrs. Brown, â€œI |
can't say as I see much to make such a fuss
' about. Just a plain bit of. iron, worth little
enough, I should think. If it-were gold and
diamonds now, that would be something like.â€
_ The sergeant turned away with a groan of
despair. â€˜Gold and diamonds forsooth!â€ he
muttered indignantly, as if that little despised
bit of iron was not worth, in his eyes at any
_ rate, all the gold and diamond mines of Africa.
Again the old pensioners came to the rescue .
of the sorely-tried sergeant, and explained
things to Mrs. Brown. She seemed rather
impressed at last by their views of the matter,
~ especially when she understood that the Queen
herself would, with her own hand, present to
THE LITTLE. V.C. 65
her boy the decoration he had won. That, at.
any rate, she considered would be something
to tell to her friends af Camden Town, though Â©
it was disappointing to have to say that the ~
thing itself was so little worth having.
The anxiously-expÃ©cted day came at length,
and the 19th Hussars were back at Ports-
mouth ; but neither Sergeant Brown nor. his
daughter-in-law were there to welcome our Â©
hero. The former was too ailing, and Mrs.
â€˜ Brown too timid, to face an excited crowd
alone; and there was still a day or two of
waiting before Ted could obtain leave of
absence to go home and see his relations. .
Besides, the general had a little plan of hisâ€™
own. to carry out: he was determined that his
little bugler should travel to.town with him- .
self, as he couldâ€™ not forego the pleasure of
witnessing his meeting with his grandfather
and late schoolfellows. So on the arrival of
_ the train Ted was dispatched at once to Cam-
den Town, with orders not to present himself â€”
at Chelsea until the following morning, and
. then to bring his mother with him.
66 : THE LITTLE Vv. 0.
- It still wanted about a fortnight tillâ€™ Christ-
mas when Ted and his mother alighted from
â€˜the omnibus at the familiar corner, and then
walked across the old courtyard of the hospital. |
During the voyage home Ted had perfectly
recovered from his wound. Not even a vestige
' of lameness remained, and it was just the same
active; light-footed boy that sprang up the
stone stairs and came walking down the long
room towards granâ€™s denâ€”just the same
honest, affectionate blue eyes that met granâ€™s,
as the brave, brown hands clasped his arm
in their old fashion. A little taller and broader
Ted had grown, and the bronze of Eastern
suns. had darkened the rosy, boyish cheeks;
but with a joy and thankfulness that thrilled
his old heart through and through, the sergeant
knew as he looked at him that he had in very
truth got his own boy Ted back again, simple, -
loving, and God-fearing as when he went away. -
â€œThank God for my lad, my dear lad Ted,â€
was all he could say as he kept his trembling es:
hand on the boyâ€™s head, and oe at him. with
acs eyes, 7
- THE LITTLE Y.C. 67.
Then his old friends the pensioners crowded â€”
â€˜round, and Ted had to shake many an aged
hand, and endure many an appreciative slap
on back or shoulder, before the confusion sub- .
sided and he could look round him at the well-
remembered room and its occupants, and:
become aware that a quiet fiure seated near
the fire was General Frazer himself. He
sprang up again to salute him.
â€œStolen a march on you, Brown,â€ remarked
the general in his clear, ringing tones. â€œAy, |
my lad, I intended to do it for a purpose of
my own. I wanted to fight our battle over
again with my old friends here before you â€”
appeared on the scene. And-now you are.
here, there is just one thing I wish all assem-.
bled in this place, as well as your former
friends and schoolfellows at Duke of Yorkâ€™s,
to know, for your own sake as well as theirs.
-. â€” Sergeant Brown, I have much satisfaction _
a in telling you that it was through your grand-
-* sonâ€™s strict attention to duty, and entire obedi- -
--ence: to orders, as much as to his bravery
â€œand coolness, that I owe my life, and to which
68 : THE LITTLE -V.C..
he owes his well-deserved honours. Very
much against his will he remained in hisâ€™
- appointed place during the attack, whilst many
of his comrades, under cover of the darkness,
deserted theirs in their headlong eagerness to
pursue the enemy. Had he allowed his
ardour to run away with him, as in old days,
he would not have seen me, would have lost
his opportunity of performing a gallant and
devoted action, and would assuredly have run
himself into great and useless peril. When
the Queen he has â€˜served so well fastens the
well-won reward on his brave breast, it will bÃ©
the sign and token to us who love himâ€”to us
- who love him,â€ repeated the general, drawing
the boy to his sideâ€”â€œas well as to his own
conscience, that he has manfully overcome the
fault that threatened to spoil a good soldier a
year ago. He has learned that â€˜he who rules â€”
his spirit is greater than he who takes a city.â€™
In other words, he is no longer â€˜ insubordinateâ€™ ..*:
â€”eh, Ted? And now,for Duke of Yorkâ€™s.â€ on
_ Off marched the general; Ted following =
_ between his mother and the sergeant, whilst
THE LITTLE V.C. 69
as many of the pensioners as could hobble
brought up the rear.
Warm was the greeting of the corporal at
the lodge as he flung wide the gates ; and there
in the old drill-yard, where the second doughty.
fight for the standard had taken place just
a year before, the rows of â€œsons of the braveâ€
were drawn up, their commandant at their
head, to welcome â€œ Boy Brownâ€ amongst them
once more, and to cheer him as only boys and ~~.
â€œDukiesâ€ can cheer. The band struck up Â«
â€œSee, the conquering hero comes,â€ and Ted; :.:
quite abashed, longed to run away. Ii was
rather worse than facing the enemy, he â€”
thought; but the ordeal was soon over, dis- |
cipline was relaxed,. and he was able to hide
himself amongst the rabble of boys let loose
upon him. ae
â€œTerrible Ted â€â€”for the nick-name stuck to
him faster than everâ€”received his Victoriaâ€™
~. Cross in due time, in company with many
â€œ7 other brave soldiers, under the admiring eyes
â€˜of the multitudes that gathered to witness the
â€œ> ..eeremony. His own general rode beside thee; :
70 THE LITTLE V.C.
royal carriage ; and Ted felt when the few kind
and gracious words were spoken to him by his
Queen, as her hand fastened the coveted medal
on his breast, while she bent a glance of smil-
ing interest on his flushed, boyish face, that
_ alla man could do and suffer in her service,
through the longest life, would fall short of the
devotion which filled his heart in return for
that kindly recognition.
Tt is while busily engaged in the service of
his Queen that we. get our last glimpse of our â€”
hero. It is the never-to-be-forgotten jubilee
day of 1887, and the â€œ Dukiesâ€ are drawn
up as a guard of honour along a certain part
of the route by which Her Majesty will pass.
The boys cast many a curious and admiring
glance at a tall and handsome young corporal
of Hussars, who is galloping and curveting Â©
about in the execution of his duty. They
nudge and whisper to one another as he goes
by, for is not the name of that same corporalâ€™
inscribed on the roll of honour hanging in the
commandantâ€™s room at Duke of Yorkâ€™s? andis |
he not a V.C. man, young as he is?
THE LITTLE V.C. aay
_ This corporal is our Ted, already many steps
up the ladder of military fame. arly in the
day he managed to secure for his mother, who
has long since learned to appreciate the mili-
tary honours of her son, a comfortable and
safe position within the railings, from whence \
to view the procession ; and he has saluted his
general, looking every inch a soldier in his
_ splendid uniform. But when the drag full of ~
Chelsea pensioners drives up, and the old
~ fellows, resplendent in brand-new scarlet coats |
~~ and cocked hats, take up their appointed
station on a stand under the trees, our Ted
glances at them sadly.~ Their. faces are all
familiar to him; but, alas! the aged form he
loved so well is absent from their ranks.
Sergeant Brown has answered the last roll- â€˜
call, and is resting after lifeâ€™s battle. The
â€œwell done, good and faithful servant,â€ which
is the reward of all true and loyal service, _
has at length greeted his ears, and he has _
â€œentered into the joy of his Lord.â€
WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL!
ee I T was rather an effort certainly, but Willie
| Dale made it. It was his-first night at
school, and being accustomed to perform his
toilet for the night in a more leisurely manner
than his companions, he was the last out of
bed. He had noticed with surprise that
9 neither of his four room-mates had knelt to
pray before lying down, and therefore felt
some embarrassment in performing what was
â€˜to him so matter-of-course an action. There
was a stifled giggle from one or two of the
beds, and then a slipper, aimed at Willieâ€™s.
kneeling form, came flying across the room;
but a hand shot out from the nearest bed,
and caught the missile before it reached Kim.
WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL. ae
Unconscious of the hostile act, the little
boy inâ€˜a few minutes rose from his knees.
â€œShall I put the candle out, J; arvis ?â€ he
inquired of his neighbour.
â€œNo,â€ replied Jarvis gruffly. â€œMarshall
comes round and does that.â€ oe
â€œGood-night!â€ said Willie, jumping into
No one responded, but a voice from the
farther end of the room observed, â€œI say, -
you new fellow, yowll' have to drop that, Bh
know; we donâ€™t go in for humbug here.â€
= ie â€˜Drop what?â€ asked Willie in surprise.
_ Â«Why, saying your prayers, and that sort .
of rot. Juvenile piety doesnâ€™t pay; you'll . .
have to drop it, young â€™un, or we'll make you.â€
Â«TJ ghall not give it up,â€ replied Willie; â€œit .
â€˜â€ is right to doit. I promisedâ€” > He was about .
to add â€œ my mother,â€ but stopped himself.
Â«Promised his mammy! I thought so. we
rude burst of laughter followed, and Willie's
face grew crimson; but at this moment foot-â€”
steps were heard approaching, ane. a master
f entered the room.
â€˜ca ae WILLIE DALEâ€™S TRIAL.
â€œNo more talking, boys,â€ said Mr. Marshall
as he put out the light, and ee further
was said that night. |
â€œT say, Dale,â€ observed Jarvis, happening
to come across our hero alone the next morn-
ing, â€œif you take my advice, you'll not forget
last night's hint. Those fellows will never
give you any peace if you keep on, and youll
have to give in, in the end.â€
â€œT canâ€™t give up saying my prayers, Jarvis,
if thatâ€™s what you mean,â€ replied Willie.
â€œWhy canâ€™t you say them in bed then ?â€
â€œ Wouldnâ€™t that look like being ashamed of
doing rightâ€”ashamed of Christ?â€ â€”
Jarvis stared. â€˜Oh, if you come to that,â€
he began nervously. â€œ But I say, Dale, school-â€™
boys canâ€™t be so mighty particular, you know.â€
He turned away, and Willie Dale shoulder-
ing his bat proceeded on his way to the
. Pplaying-field. He rose many degrees in the
opinion and favour of his schoolfellows that
afternoon by the unexpected spirit and style
of his play at cricket.
â€œ Heâ€™s no milksop, at any rate, and won't
WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL. 75
be a bad fellow when weâ€™ve knocked the piety
and priggishness out of him,â€ remarked Holt,
the hero of the slipper, to Jarvis.
â€œT advise you to let Dale alone, Holt; you
â€˜won't find him an easy fellow to manage,â€ re-
plied Jarvis. -
That night, and for several following ones,
Willieâ€™s kneeling down by his bedside was the
signal for all manner of disturbances and petty
persecutions from his room-mates. They made
all the noise they dared, and a volley of slip-
pers, wet sponges, books, and brushes flew
across the room. Willie, though he must
have received many a hard knock, took no
notice. At last, however, a well-aimed boot
struck him on the temple, and a drop of blood
fell on the sheet. Jarvis sprang out of bed.
â€œT say, you fellows,â€ he shouted, â€œIâ€™m not :
going to stand this any longer; you'll just
give over bullying pee or Pll know the
A. laugh and a book aimed at hinisele was
the derisive answer. Jarvis sprang at .his
assailant, and after a short scuffle threw him ~
76 WILLIEâ€™ DALEâ€™S TRIAL.
_ down, and would have punished him severely,
had not the masterâ€™s step at that moment
â€˜been heard, and the combatants dived into
their respective beds. As soon-as Mr. Mar-
shall was well out of earshot, Jarvis raised his
head from his pillowâ€” Once for all, Holt,
and you other fellows, if you donâ€™t let Dale
* alone, you'll have me to deal with. Dâ€™ve made
up my mind to stop, this, and you all know
what I say I'll do.â€
No answer was returned, and when the
next night, to the surprise of his companions
_and the intense joy of Willie Dale, Jarvis
himself knelt down at the side of his bed and
â€™ buried his face in his hands, no one ventured
_ to make a remark, for Jarvis was both liked
-. and respected by all except Morton and one
or two other black sheep in the school.
One night Jarvis, coming up to bed later
than usual, in consequence of having spent
the evening with a friend, found Morton,
Holt, and Kennedy surrounding Willie Dale, .
whom they held pinned against the wall. ~
They were talking loudly and excitedly. â€œDo
WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL. WD
_ you.mean to do it or not?â€ asked Holt, shak-
ing him by the shoulder.
â€œNo,â€ replied Willie.
â€œYou are afraid; thatâ€™s what it is, you
young sneak. â€˜Oh, itâ€™s no tse looking for
Jarvis; he ae here to take you under his
â€œDon't be too sure of that,â€ said Jarvis,
coming forward. â€˜â€œ What's up, Holt Â¢â€
â€œOh, we're only going to have a lark, and
mean this mammyâ€™s darling to help us, whether
he likes it or not. Itâ€™s no harm, indeed, Jarvis, |
though I now it would be no use asking you â€”
to join us.â€ *
â€œWe only want a tuck-in at those jolly
plums on the wall below,â€ put in Kennedy;
' â€œthereâ€™s such a lot, that a few will never be
missed. Daleâ€™s such a light weight, and the |
best climber of us all, that we're going to put
him out of the corridor window to get them;
but your pious fellows are always cowards, and.
he funks going.â€ . ay
_â€™ Willie smiled. at Jarvis.
â€œ Will you go or not, Dale?â€ ahad Morton
78 WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL.
angrily, his greedy mouth longing for the
â€œT will not,â€ replied Willie aaiatly.
â€œThen take that,â€ returned Morton furi- Â©
ously, striking Willie a violent and unexpected
blow on the head. |
Willie fell to the ground, his head coming
in contact with the iron foot of a bedstead as
he fell, and lay motionless, while a thin stream
of blood began to trickle from his head.
â€œYou've done it now!â€ ejaculated Holt in
consternation, kneeling on the ground and rais-
ing the injured boyâ€™s head, while Jarvis flew
for water andâ€™a sponge.
â€œJT say, cram him into bed and cover him
up; he canâ€™t be hurt much, and Marshall will
be round directly. Quick, or we shall be
â€œCan't help it if we are,â€ retorted Holt,
anxiously examining Willieâ€™s head, at which
Jarvis worked away with the sponge. Willie
opened his eyes in a minute or two and at- |
tempted to rise. - oe
â€œThere, I told you so ; heâ€™ s all right,â€ ex-
WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL 79
claimed Morton, and he and Kennedy hur-
riedly proceeded to restore order in the room, |
whilst the others lifted Willie into his bed,
where he drew the bedclothes over him and
lay as if asleep. Tearing off their clothes,
the three delinquents sprang into bed the
moment before Mr. Marshall entered. .
â€œNot undressed yet, Jarvis! How is that?
Ah, I remember, you have been out. Well,
I must leave you to put out the light for once,
as I am going out myself.â€
All right, sir; good-night,â€ replied Jarvis.
Jarvis then proceeded to bathe and bind up
Willieâ€™s head as well as he could. It no longer
bled, but there was a lump as big as an egg.
â€œThe cut isnâ€™t muchâ€”we'll get Mother
Nelson to stick a bit of plaster on it in the .
morning; it was the blow that stunned you
for a bit,â€ he remarked as he completed his
friendly services and got â€˜into bed himself.
The other three boys had, however, by no
means given up their designs upon the plums ;
and as soon as they felt sure that Jarvis and
' Willie were salen. there were stealthy foot-
* 80 - -WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL.
steps and whisperings heard about the room.
_ Presently the partially-clothed conspirators:
- erept out into the corridor, some little dis-
tance beneath the window of which the plum-
tree which grew in the head-masterâ€™s private
garden was trained against the wall. Next to
Dale, Morton himself was acknowledged to
_be the best climber. To his lot, therefore,
it fell to let himself down from the window, _
by means of the branches of the tree, and
possess himself of the coveted fruit. It was
a matter of difficulty and of some danger; but
having accomplished it in safety and filled his
_ pockets, he quickly scrambled back. Seated
on the window seat, the three boys greedily
devoured their booty, carelessly tossing the
stones out at the still open window as they
. sat, and then returned to their room and beds. -
On entering the schoolroom the morning
following their exploit, the boys were surprised
to find Dr. Graham seated at the desk instead
of Mr. Marshall, who usually superintended â€™
the early lessons, and guilty looks of dismay _
were exchanged between two or three of them--
WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL. S15
when they perceived that several plum-stones,
and a boyâ€™s turn-down collar, lay on the desk
â€˜before him. The doctor waited in silence until .
all the boys had entered, and then rose. Be
â€œBoys,â€ he began, â€œI am here this morn-
ing to investigate a.painful occurrence. Mrs.
Graham tells me that late last night, or dur-
ing the night, a considerable quantity of wall
fruit has disappeared from her fayourite tree.
Several plum-stones have been picked up on
the path beneath, and also this collar. I ask, |
I even entreat, that the boy to whom this
collar belongs will come forward and confess
his guilt.â€ The doctor paused for a minute |
or two, looking appealingly at one after
-another of the throng of young faces before
him. There was a slight stir and whispering
amongst them, but no one came forward.
â€œWilliam Dale, come here,â€ commanded Dr.
Graham sternly. . .
Willie instantly advanced, and, rather pale
â€˜from the blow of the preceding night, stood
looking respectfully but inquiringly at the
doctor, who now held the collar i in his hand.
G 6 ;
82 WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL.
â€œDale,â€ he said, â€œ considering your uniform
good conduct, it gives me as much pain as
surprise to find your name on this collar; it
has, as you perceive, a stain of blood on it.
Mrs. Nelson tells me that you applied to her
this morning for plaster for a cut on your head,
and that you are, as far as she knows, the only
boy in this school who has recently met with
any hurt. There are traces of this hurt also
on your bed linen, and the window of the
_ corridor outside your room was discovered
open this morning. What have you to say
for yourself in the face of these overwhelming
â€œ Nothing, sir,â€ answered the boy, â€œ except
to assure you that I am innocent.â€
â€œInnocent!â€ thundered the doctor. â€œDo
not add lying to your sins of theft and greedi-
ness, Dale; nothing but a full and instant
confession can now save you from expulsion
from my house.â€
â€œT cannot confess what I did not do,â€ re-.
turned Willie, steadily fixing his honest eyes _
on the doctor's face. eC
WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL. 83
â€œ You cannot deny that this collar is yours.â€
â€œNo, sirâ€”it is certainly mine; but I cannot
tell how it came where it was found.â€
â€œ How did you get that cut?â€ was the next
question, as Dr. Graham drew the boy towards
him and examined his head.
â€œT fell down, sir;â€ but Willie changed colour
and hesitated slightly as he replied.
â€œOf course you did,â€ was the sarcastic
comment. â€œMay I ask where and when
you fell?â€ . -
â€œLast night, and in my own room. But
indeed, sir, I was doing no wrong when it
happened ; my head struck the foot of a bed-
stead when I fell.â€
_ Â«There is more in: this than I can fathom.
Can any of you throw light upon the matter ?â€
asked Dr. Graham,.speaking to the coe in
No one answered, but an audible scuffle and
disturbance was going on in a corner of the
â€œ Silence there!â€ called the doctor sternly.
â€”â€”â€œ Well, Dale, appearances, even your own â€”
84 3 WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL. .
manners, are so much against you - that
. painful as it is, I have no alternative but to
believe you guilty ; yet.as you are very young,
and this is your first offence, I will give you a
chance, and delay your sentence. Go to your
room now; I will see you again in the after-
noon, by which time I earnestly hope that ye
will have come to a better spirit.â€
- Willie walked quietly from the room, but
he had scarcely closed the door when the dis-
turbance previously noted by -the doctor re-
commenced. Hisses and subdued cries of
- â€œCoward!â€ â€œSneak!â€ were heard, and the |
next moment Morton, struggling in the grasp
. of Holt and Kennedy, and forcibly propelled .
by a kick from Jarvis, was dragged up to the
doctorâ€™s desk. :
â€œ What is all this?â€ exclaimed the doctor,
gazing wrathfully at the trio. â€œHave. you
- taken leave of your senses, young gentlemen?â€
â€œSpeak. up, canâ€™t you?â€ whispered Holt,
with a fierce shake of Mortonâ€™s shoulder.
â€œWhat! you won't? then I shall.â€”Please, os
_sir, we are very sorry; we didnâ€™t think of its ,.
_ WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL. 85
being really stealing, but we planned to get
_ the plumsâ€”Morton, Kennedy, and Iâ€”and we Â©
all three ate them. But, please, sir, Morton
must tell the rest ; Dale would not join us.â€
â€œWell, Morton, what have you to say 7â€
Morton stood in sullen silence; but. piece-
meal, and by dint of patient cross-examination,
the doctor, with the help of Holt and Kennedy,
- who appeared truly ashamed of their part in
the matter and of their companion, extracted â€”
from his reluctant lips the main facts of what
had occurred the night before, Holt eagerly
assuring their master that both Jarvis and .
Dale had been asleep before whey left their -
. room, â€”
. â€œHow do you account for Dales collar _
being found in the garden?â€ asked â€˜Dr.
â€œT cannot tell, sir; but you see our things.
_ were all lying about. We got hold of what
came first in the dark to go out to the corridor -
in. Morton must have put on Daleâ€™s shirt,
and dropped the collar on the path.â€ _
_ â€œTI see,â€ agreed the doctor.â€”* Morton, this
86 WILLIE DALE'S TRIAL.
is not the first, time you have been guilty of
dishonest practices and. deceit; I shall now
communicate with your father. Meanwhile
you will remain alone in my study.â€”Holt =
and Kennedy, you will each receive a richly-
deserved thrashing.â€”Jarvis, go to Dale and â€”
inform him of this turn in events. Bring him |
back with you: â€”Now, boys, we will poe
to our morningâ€™s work.â€
In a few: minutes Jarvis reappeared with
Willie, and a close but silent grasp of the
hand passed between master and pupil as the
latter walked to his seat.
From that day Morton disappeared from
amongst them, and the same afternoon Ken-
nedy observed to Jarvis, â€œDaleâ€™s no sneak,
after all I was sure heâ€™d tell about us.
I donâ€™t understand the fellow; he doesnâ€™t
seem to have pluck enough to stand up for
himself, and yetâ€”â€
Â«Tt isnâ€™t want of pluck,â€ returned - Jarvis ;
â€œDale has enough of that, and to spare. Itâ€™s
right, not himself, Dale stands up for; he'll
bear anything rather than do what is wrong.â€
- WILLIE DALEâ€™S TRIAL. - 87
â€œT â€˜suppose thatâ€™s being a Christian,â€ was
Kennedyâ€™s thoughtful reply. â€œWell, I say,
Jarvis, thereâ€™s lots of us here who think they _
- might be the better for following Daleâ€™s ex- .
ample. I know you do, old. fellow, and Holt
and I have agreed to have a try at it too.â€
LITTLE MOTHER MAY.
AY and June were twins. May was
the elder by a few minutes only;
still those few minutes caused the birthday of
one twin to fall on the thirty-first of May,
and that of the other on the first of J une, a .
thing that does not often happen. So their
parents determined to mark the event by
naming the babies after the months in which -
they were born.
And truly these: names - suited hei as
no others could have done; for you might
have searched the world over without finding
a â€˜ sweeter pair of little maidens. .Just to
look at their faces made you think of wild
' roses and bluebells, so pink and white were .
. LITTLE MOTHER MAY. 89.
they, and their eyes so soft and blue. â€œ Juneâ€™s
_ cheeks were a wee bit pinker and her eyes a
wee bit bluer than Mayâ€™s; but that was all
the difference between them, and it â€˜was just
enough to know them by. Both had the same
golden-brown hair, and their tempers were as |
' sweet and sunny as their faces.
May was the more thoughtful and: sedate
of the two, and she had the more lovingâ€™
heart. Every one called her â€œ Little Mother
_ May,â€ because she was never so happy as
when tending a weak or ailing creature, and .~
she seemed to know by instinct how to do it.
Mayâ€™s name-month had run out to its last â€”
_ day. It was Sunday, and her birthday ; both ce
birthdays were to be kept as usual on the first _
. of June, and they were going to have the treat
they loved best of all. Their Uncle Will
was the owner of a trim little â€˜pleasure-boat
called the Seagull, and was going to take Â©
. them and his own children for a sail down the
river to where it ran into the great, beautiful
sea, and they were to spend a long afternoon
on the beach. The little girls had been look- _
90 LITTLE MOTHER MAY.
ing forward to this treat for months; for the
past delight of it, and the anticipation of its,
return, gave them something to talk about for
a whole year.
_ May and June had been to church with
their parents in the morning, and in the
afternoon they decided to follow their father,
who had gone over the downs to speak to his
shepherd. They wanted to question him about ~
the weather, for a fresh breeze had sprung up,
and clouds were chasing each other over theâ€™
sky rather quickly. How dreadful it would
be if the first of June should be wet!
The twins did not find their father very
quickly, and when they did, he seemed too
busy talking to the shepherd to notice them
at first. A sheep which lay at their feet was
ill, dying they feared, and Mr. Franks and
Tim were absorbed in ministering to the poor
creature. Two little lambs beside her were
crying piteously, and the sight of them awoke
all the mother instinct in Mayâ€™s heart. Father
and Tim could manage the sheep, she thought
â€”they knew what to.do; but these neglected
LITTLE MOTHER MAY. , 91
little lambs were in her line. So;she knelt
down and began to stroke and comfort them,
and June joined her.
â€œ Are you there, children ?â€ said Mr. Franks,
looking up. â€œâ€˜ Little Mother Mayâ€™ is the
very person I wanted. I wish you and June
would take these poor little beasties home and
warm them upabit. I fear they'll be orphans
before long, and we shall have to bring them
up as best we can.â€
The lambs were quite old or to run,
but no amount of coaxing would induce them -
to leave their mother. The children would
lead them a few yards away, and then they
would return and rub their pretty. black noses
against her side, with little cries of distress.
At length May, with tears in her eyes, picked
up one of them in her arms and started off
home with it. A well-grown lamb is no light
load for a small maiden to carry in a strong
â€œbreeze; but she marched on bravely, soothing
it the while with loving words and hugs.
June had at first followed her sisterâ€™s example;
but finding the lamb heavy, she soon set it
92 LITTLE MOTHER MAY.
down, and slipping the band off her hat, tied it -
round the neck of her charge, and by this
â€™ means led or pulled it along, greatly against
Both children were heartily glad when they
reached home. June suggested making a little
pen under a tree at the corner of the grassâ€™
plot where their favourite seat stood. This
their capable hands soon arranged, and the
lambs were placed in the tiny enclosure; but
if left for a minute alone, they again raised
- such a piteous bleating that, hot and thirsty
as she was, May could not be persuaded to
leave them, even to go in and have her tea. ~
_ June carried it out to her, and then brought
her own out also, for the twins were never
quite happy apart.
The lamb May had carried home seemed to
have quite adopted her as its special nurse ;
but she divided her attention between the
two very impartially, and was much troubled â€”
because they would not eat the bread dipped
in milk with which she tried to feed them. â€”
Presently Tim came and led the lambs away
3 LITTLE MOTHER MAY. 93
: * fag the night. He laughed at: ike little girlâ€™s
distress, and told her they would eat fast
enough when they were sufficiently hungry.
â€œDo you think it is going to be a fine day
to-morrow, father ?â€ asked June when she came
to bid her parents good-night.
â€œFine to-morrow? Why, yes; as far as I
can tell, it will be a beautiful day.â€
â€œNot too windy for the boat? That is
what we came up the down to ask you about
â€œWhy, dear me! if I hadnâ€™t forgotten the
birthday sail altogether; I was so taken up
with that poor sheep. No, I donâ€™t think it
will be windy at all, my darlings.â€ .
â€œTs the sheep better, father?â€ asked May.
_ â€œYes, Iam thankful to say she is; I think
she'll pull through now. But now I come
to think of it, it is almost a pity my little
â€˜girls will not be at home to-morrow. The
lambs must not go near my patient, and â€”
they'll be wanting some one to attend to
them sadly.â€ |
The twins looked grave as they went off ig
os 94 â€œTne: MOTHER MAY.
_ bed; but ie said nothing, so June did not
-- â€˜and they: were quickly asleep. _ -
The first of June was a perfect day, with Â©â€
just enough breeze to ripple the blue water of _
the river as it danced down to the sea. June
was in the wildest spirits, but May sat rather â€”
silently at the breakfast-table.
. * â€œI neednâ€™t remind you girls to be ready when
the Seagull comes round,â€ said the farmer as â€”
Ee _he went.out. â€œI wish I could spare time for
a:sail myself this lovely day.â€
. But when the Seagull came to the Iicalings
stage, only June was there waiting for it.
_ â€œHeyday! only one of you? What does.
_ â€˜this mean?â€ cried Uncle Will as he helper
- June â€˜into the boat.
_ â€œMay will not come,â€ replied June solemnly.
â€œThere are two poor lambs, whose mother is
â€˜ill, to be nursed, and May will not leave them
â€˜for any one. I donâ€™t see why she should. epol Lb
our birthday treat for them.â€ me
â€œNay, my dear, your birthday treat need =
_ not be spoilt. You can be happy and enjoyâ€™ -
yourself well enough with your cousins here,
|, LITTLE MOTHER MAY. Â© , 95.
and I'll warrant â€˜ Little Mother Mayâ€™ will be
happy enough too. She'll not be the loser;â€
said Uncle Will with a smile in his eyes, for
he loved May â€œlike one of his own,â€ as â€˜he:
often told her mother. Â©
â€œMay had never told a word of her iaistition
till it was time to get ready ; then she quietly
told her mother that the lambs wanted. her, =
and she would rather stay with them, and.
walked off with her new birthday story-book ae
to the seat under the tree, from whence: no
arguments or entreaties on Juneâ€™s part could
move her. She could not help feeling a little
sad when the gleam of blue water between.
the branches of the trees caught her eye, and
she thought of the merry party on the beach ;
but she was consoled when she saw how cosy ie
her charges were, and how content under her
watchful care. Presently she found her father,
_ who had come quietly over the â€˜grass, standing ele
__ by her side.
Dear â€˜ Little Mother May, he said: as he.
Be stooped to kiss her, â€œ I never thought of your
doing this when I spoke last night. poe
96 : LITTLE MOTHER MAY.
â€œNo, father, but I did; I make up my mind
_. to do it directly. I couldnâ€™t have left them.â€
â€œWell, childie, â€™'m glad you didnâ€™t, though
Fm sorry too. The poor sheep is dead, after
all. . How would you like to have these
orphans for your very own, May ?â€
â€œO father! do you really mean it?â€
â€œTJ do, indeed. My little girl deserves a
birthday present, I am sure.â€
Who so happy as â€œ Little Mother Mayâ€
when she realized that the lambs were her
very own? Now, indeed, she felt rewarded
for her self-denial, and her face was quite
radiant with happiness when she told her
news to June on her return home.
If May has daughters of her own when she
grows up, I think they will be fortunate indeed
in having such a mother as she will make.
xml record header identifier oai:www.uflib.ufl.edu.ufdc:UF0008725500001datestamp 2008-10-30setSpec [UFDC_OAI_SET]metadata oai_dc:dc xmlns:oai_dc http:www.openarchives.orgOAI2.0oai_dc xmlns:dc http:purl.orgdcelements1.1 xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.openarchives.orgOAI2.0oai_dc.xsd dc:title The little V.C.dc:creator Burnside, Helen MarionSmedley, W. T ( William Thomas ), 1858-1920 ( Illustrator )dc:subject Christian life -- Juvenile fictionSoldiers -- Juvenile fictionCourage -- Juvenile fictionVictoria Cross -- Juvenile fictionBoys -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fictionConduct of life -- Juvenile fictionChildren -- Religious life -- Juvenile fictionRight and wrong -- Juvenile fictionKindness -- Juvenile fictionChildren's storiesdc:description Osborne catalogue,by Helen Marion Burnside.With added illustrated t.-p.The frontispiece and added t.-p. vignette are signed W.T.S. i.e. William Thomas Smedley.dc:publisher T. Nelson and Sonsdc:date 1898dc:type Bookdc:format 96 p., 2 leaves of plates : ill. ; 17 cm.dc:identifier http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?b=UF00087255&v=00001002223146 (ALEPH)63077171 (OCLC)ALG3394 (NOTIS)dc:source University of Floridadc:language English
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The element type "div" must be terminated by the matching end-tag "