Founded by J. Erskine Clarke, M.A.
Boston: Dana Estes & Company, 212 Summer Street.
Copyright, 1878, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1879, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1880, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1881, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1882, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1883, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1884, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1885, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1886, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1887, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1888, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1889, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1890, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1891, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1892, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1893, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1894, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1895, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1896, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1897, by ESTES & LAURIAT. Copyright, 1898, by DANA ESTES & CO. Copyright, 1899, by DANA ESTES & CO. Copyright, 1900, by DANA ESTES & CO. Copyright, 1901, by DANA ESTES & CO. Copyright, 1902, by DANA ESTES & CO. Copyright, 1903, by DANA ESTES & CO. Copyright, 1904, by DANA ESTES & CO. Copyright, 1905, by DANA ESTES & CO.
Presswork by Colonial Press: C. H. Simonds & Co. Boston, U.S.A.
Page A Boy's Heroism 179 A Coat of Paint 319 Advice that Saved a King's Life 279 A Fair-sized Field 358 Affectionate Eagles 71 Afloat on the Dogger Bank 188, 198, 202, 214, 218, 226, 238, 242, 253, 258, 266, 277, 285, 291, 300, 308, 317, 324, 334, 342, 346, 354, 366, 374, 378, 386, 398, 402, 410 A Hundred Years Ago 15, 34, 142, 163, 210, 322, 382 A Kindly Visit 3 A Lesson in Steering 127 All Prime Ministers 243 A Monkey's Memory 11 A Mother Rabbit's Courage 122 A Motor-car of the Past 331 Anecdotes 98, 130, 167, 195, 230, 262, 290, 339, 371, 394 Animal Makeshifts 220, 251, 275, 340, 371, 397 An Impression of Zanzibar 391 An Indian Custom 22 An Ocean Policeman 19 An Old-fashioned Grace 109 A Novel Rain Protector 58 A Queer Address on a Post-card 390 A Peep at Northern Italy 247 A Sparrow's Coolness 183 A Story of Stanley 87 A Stroll amongst Ferns 358 A Strong Motive 299 A Timely Rescue 259
Chased by Seagulls 63 Clever Billy 323 Cruisers in the Clouds 2, 62, 98, 154, 190, 223, 250, 266, 298, 346, 370, 395 Cuban Lizards 119 Curious Names in London City 110
Diamonds 299 Doctor Abernethy's Advice 263
Earning an Honest Penny 110 Eastern Jugglers 197 Encounters with Lions 311 Encouragement 133 Ethel's Orange-plant 339
Faith and Sight 211 Freed in Vain 3 Frost-bitten in the Red Sea 187
Generosity 251 Gemmal Rings 315 George II. at Dettingen 38 'Ginger for Pluck' 114
Heroes and Heroines of Famous Books 38, 42, 166, 171, 274, 351, 354 He set the Example 246 His First Wolf Hunt 390, 406 How Hetais Wore his Medal 359
Indian Wireless Telegraphy 395 Insect Ways and Means 29, 43, 77, 109, 149, 179, 211, 237, 261, 283, 307, 357, 364, 387 In the Snow 373
Japanese Plums 146 Jim's Shower-bath 227
Life in Bohemia 282
Magic Rods 122 May Day 143 McLeod of Clere 66, 78, 82, 90 Mice on a Submarine 279
Nature's Noblemen 158 Never Caught It 270 Never draw a Sword except in a Cause that is Just and Right 170 Nicolo in Vienna 411 No Hurry 155 Nothing is Perfect 18 Not the same Thing 146
Old Conduits 323 One Good Turn deserves Another 306 One More Chance 295 One was Missing 287 Outwitting Himself 255
Philip Wood and Sir Christopher Wren 314 Pussy's Playmate 287 Puzzlers for Wise Heads 30, 58, 98, 130, 167, 195, 230, 263, 290, 339, 371, 395
Rat-skins 270 Ready! 283 Regiments in the City 350 Rice-paper 203 Rudel and Lisbeth 150
Saved by the Enemy 51 Saved by Twenty Guineas 47 Served her Right 207 Smithfield Tournaments 170 Spy or Guide? 394 Steeple-climbers 74 Strange Children 290
The Admiral and the Fisherman 50 The Best Beginning 98 The Best Lesson 11 The Black Leopard 234 The Black Swan 364 The Boy Tramp 6, 12, 22, 26, 34, 44, 54, 58, 69, 74, 85, 94, 102, 106, 117, 125, 134, 138, 146, 158, 162, 173, 181, 187, 194 The Captain and the Invalid 66 The Captain's Cigar 90 The Captain's Turn First 47 The Cashmere Stag 231 The Castle Light 10 The Chinese Laundryman 382 The Cow-tree 307 The Cypher Telegram 123, 130 The Duke and the Traveller 167 The Duke of Wellington's Head Gardener 219 The Eagle's Nest 349 The Elephant and the Crocodile 78 The Feast of Cherries 175 The Flower-girl 207 The Frog and the Geese 22 The Gate-keeper of Rambouillet 231 The Generous Bakers 71 The Girl who Did Not Run Away 130 The Great Northern Diver 133 The Hidden Room 327, 330, 338 The Indian Chief and the Bishop 11 The Intruding Squirrel 186 The Jumping Mouse 299 The Legend of Helfenstein 63 The Lime or Linden 98 The Little Bush-boy 155 The Man with the Glasses 213 The Mysterious Chest 30 The Old Clock 271 The Parks of London 205, 245, 270 The Pitcher-plant 221 The Poet Crabbe's First School 234 The Potato 263 The Puff-adder 90 The Reason Why 107 The Sago-tree 210 The Story of Slate 186 The Teal 53 The Teeth of Hyenas 231 The Wreck of the Hope 391 Torn to Rags 178 Toys from the Streets 379, 389, 403 Twenty Pounds Reward 362 Two Medals 219 Two Ways of Reading a Sentence 150
Ulrich's Opportunity 234
Whalebone 50 What Katie Heard 303 White Negroes 178 Without a Hen to Buy Stamps 143 Wonderful Caverns 18, 51, 83, 115, 139, 195, 229, 294, 315, 332, 363
Page A Busy World 382 Against Odds 406 Bouquets 66 Discontent brings Dulness 157 Don't Begin 244 Fairy Song 350 Good-bye to the Last Fire 163 Good-night, Good-day! 50 Growing Up 115 How Tom Dresses 282 Invitations 148 Jack's Wish 259 My Friend 38 My Garden Concert 63 My Picture-book 234 One and One make Two 222 Our Puss 122 Sad Company in the Nursery 299 Take Care of the Days 47 The Bat and the Ball 142 The Contented Pansy 358 The Father of All 279 The Fox's Serenade 306 The Friendly Light 29 The Great Picture-book 186 The Jealous Kittens 101 The Lover-doll 390 The Naughty Kittens 11 The Pioneers 170 The Promise of the Storm 394 The Rabbit and the Hare 331 The Slate's Story 371 The Song of the Broom 294 The Startled Hares 92 The Trumpet and the Drum 227 The Two Dolls 315 The Way to Win 3 The Weather Sprites 195 Too Clever 178 Too Tempting to be Lost 204 Travellers' Tales 134 Waiting 22 Welcome to the First Fire 323 What am I? 214 What Insects Love 342 Why the Sea Sobs 363 Willie's Sum 251
"Why Should We Wait Till To-morrow?" Frontispiece Home for the Holidays, facing p. 64 On a Voyage of Discovery, facing p. 128 All Hands to the Pump, facing p. 192 Crossing the Brook, facing p. 256 Good News of the Boy, facing p. 320
Page A Cliff-dwelling of North America 229 A Corner of Hyde Park 205 A Countryman's Well-deserved Rebuke 17 Afloat on the Dogger Bank (Illustrations to), 189, 200, 201, 216, 217, 225, 240, 241, 253, 257, 268, 277, 285, 292, 301, 309, 317, 325, 336, 344, 348, 356, 368, 376, 377, 385, 400, 401, 409 'After all, I will wait' 93 'A great number of seagulls were chasing the fugitive' 64 'A horseman galloped to the spot in the hope of finding them still alive' 153 A Monkey's Memory 12 Andree's Departure for the North Pole 297 An Eastern Snake Charmer 197 Animal Makeshifts (Illustrations to), 220, 221, 252, 276, 341, 372, 397 An Ocean Policeman 20 An Old-fashioned Motor-car 332 A Peep at Northern Italy 248 A Picture Puzzle 28 A Scene in Clissold Park 245 A Scene in Regent's Park 269 'As we cleared the water we could hear the wolves close behind' 403
'Billy allowed the letter to be taken' 324 '"Boh! Boh!" the clear voice shouted' 81
Chinese Laundrymen 381 Cliff-dwelling, New Mexico, and Cave-pottery 333 Cuban Lizards 120
'Daisy soon grew clever at keeping the head to the wind' 128
East Front of the Rock Temple of Elephanta 140 Entrance to the Grotto of La Balme 316
'Fight against my country! Not for the ransom of a king!' 49 Fingal's Cave, Staffa 52
Hans Christian Andersen 164 'He could hardly find words to welcome them' 5 'He deliberately lighted a cigar with a scrap of the burning rope' 89 'He hit out with all his force' 349 'He loaded the children with cherry branches' 176 'He looked wistfully at the pair of crutches' 124 'He ran towards the bull and opened his umbrella quickly' 260 'He saw an old man, who seemed to be very weary' 353 'He started, and let the lancet fall' 280 'He steered his balloon round the Eiffel Tower' 369 'He told his son he would disinherit him and turn him out of doors' 40 'His grandfather lay gagged and bound on the floor' 9 'How dare you strike me when you know God can see you?' 165 'How it tasted—well, I've never heard' 204 'How would you like to earn twenty pounds reward?' 361
'I am afraid I have no berth here for you, my lad' 305 'I am worth something when I can call that brave boy my son' 152 'I cannot bear to sit out here' 21 'I don't know what to do' 157 'If you hang him, you shall hang me too' 169 'I got these easily from the cellar' 329 Insect Ways and Means (Illustrations to), 29, 44, 77, 109, 149, 180, 212, 237, 261, 284, 308, 357, 364, 388 'I saw it first—'tis mine—let go!' 244 'It hopped into the space between the rails' 184 'It is a terrible thing, is a wreck on this coast' 392 'It is good! very good' 313 'It rose at once to the ceiling' 1 'It was fortunate that we put them off the scent' 132 '"I will add this too, lady," said the pedlar' 337 'I will take care of Boh' 80
'Jack worked with a will' 320 'Jim got a terrible drenching' 228 'Just as Lord Massereene was leaving the prison, he was arrested' 209
'Katie stood on the doorstep' 304
'Live on sixpence a day—and earn it' 264 'Look out, father, they are going to shoot you' 118
'Maung and his young companion came to what they sought at last' 68
'May turned away, feeling ashamed and miserable' 340 'M. Charles stepped into the blue and golden car' 100 'My master wishes to speak with you' 352
Nicolo and the Krampus 412 'No, little lass, I do not want any flowers' 112
October 21st, 1805 321 'One bolder than the rest stabbed it with a pitchfork' 61 'One pig went squealing down the road' 177
'Paralysed with fear, he clung to the bough' 4 'Please do not shoot me' 393
'See what my speckled hen has hatched' 328 'Seven miles high!' 265 'Shame on you all, to hit a helpless man' 16 'She could hardly stand still while Alice tied the ribbon on' 114 'She managed to drag her on shore' 129 'She was just high enough, and could light the lamps' 41
The Best Beginning 97 The Black Leopard 233 The Black Swan of Australia 365 'The bottle stood in the air as though hanging there' 396 The Boy Tramp (Illustrations to), 8, 13, 24, 25, 36, 45, 56, 60, 69, 76, 85, 96, 104, 105, 117, 125, 136, 137, 148, 160, 161, 173, 181, 193 'The cat washed the jackdaw in its turn' 289 'The commanding officer advanced towards the bier' 360 The Death of a Deserter 33 The Deerslayer in the hands of the Indians 172 'The driver heard them, and reversed his engine' 224 'The dog hailed his master as he passed' 345 'The eagle seized its wounded mate with its beak and claws' 72 'The empty branch bore a label' 145 The First Post-office in the Sky 192 The Giant's Hall, Luray 293 'The grateful mother handed the doctor a handsome pocket-book' 256 The Grottoes of Han in the Ardennes 116 The Great-Northern Diver 133 'The horse nearly carried the King into the French lines' 37 The Jealous Kittens 101 The Jumping Mouse 300 'The little bush-boy appeared' 156 The Mammoth Cave, Kentucky 84 The Man with the Glasses 218 'The men set to work to load their muskets' 272 'The other passengers thought him mad' 57 'The peacock took all her play in good part' 288 'The rabbit bit the stoat in the most infuriated manner' 121 The Rock Temple of Kailus at Ellora 196 'The sailor-pupil climbed into the car' 249 'The second lion seized him' 312 The Simplon Pass 141 'The soldiers forgot the prisoner, and scrambled for the money' 48 'The stag stayed by his mate's body' 232 The Teal 53 'The two were soon locked in fight' 384 'The women of Bohemia act as bricklayers labourers' 281 'The woodpecker fled in fear' 185 'They burnt the Shakespeare, breaking the spell' 88 'They came hopping in, Paul an easy first' 92 'They stumbled along, supporting the stranger as best they could' 373 ''Tis the very man!' 273 Toys from the Streets (Illustrations to), 380, 389, 404
'We charged at the midst of the foe' 405 'We will see where this rat came from' 32 'What is it?—a fire? Speak, boy!' 236 'Who'll buy?' 208 'Wootton stood quite upright on the pinnacle of the steeple' 73 'Would you take a message of importance for me?' 168
'Your Majesty is certainly wrong' 108 '"You shall go," said the captain, "if I lose every passenger"' 65 'You young rascal' 296
CRUISERS IN THE CLOUDS.
I.—THE TWO BROTHERS OF ANNONAY AND THEIR PAPER BALLOON.
In the chimney corner of a cottage in Avignon, a man sat one day watching the smoke as it rose in changing clouds from the smouldering embers to the sooty cavern above, and if those who did not know him had supposed from his attitude that he was a most idle person, they would have been very far from the truth.
It was in the days when the combined fleets of Europe were thundering with cannon on the rocky walls of Gibraltar, in the hope of driving the English out, and, the long effort having proved in vain, Joseph Montgolfier, of whom we have spoken, fell to wondering, as he sat by the fire, how the great task could be accomplished.
'If the soldiers and sailors could only fly,' he thought, 'there would be no difficulty.' He looked at a picture of the Rock lying on the table beside him, and saw many places on its summit very suitable for such flying foes to settle on. 'But, ah! who could give them wings?' He turned to the fireplace, and his eyes fell once more on the column of smoke, silently, silently rising; and yet not so silently as the world might think, for though he had not yet quite understood its meaning, Joseph Montgolfier had been striving for some time past to learn the lesson which he felt sure it was to teach him at last. And to-day the secret came out. Thoughts so active as his did not take long to get from Gibraltar back to the smoke, and they had not been there many minutes when Montgolfier jumped from his seat, and, throwing open the door of the room, called to his landlady. A great idea had occurred to him, and, to carry it out, he required some light, silky material, called taffeta. This the good landlady quickly supplied, and when she entered the room some time later, she found her lodger holding the taffeta, which he had formed into a bag, over the fire. As the smoke filled it, it certainly showed an inclination to rise, but once out of reach of the warmest glow it toppled over and collapsed on the floor.
The landlady watched the experiments for some time in silence. Then, with a little laugh, she said, 'Ah, M. Montgolfier, why do you not tie the fire to the bag?'
The great inventor had not thought of that; but he did not require to be told twice, and obtaining a little bunch of some inflammable material, he tied it under his bag and set it on fire. The smoke and heat inflated the tiny balloon, and it rose at once to the ceiling. A few minutes later the inventor called for pen and ink, and wrote the following letter:
'Prepare without delay a supply of taffeta and cordage, and you shall see one of the most astonishing things in the world.'
This hasty note was addressed to M. Stephen Montgolfier at Annonay, near Lyons, and never was a request made that was more likely to be carefully and promptly granted. Stephen Montgolfier, like his brother, had busy thoughts concerning means for rising in the air, and when Joseph returned from Avignon, they set to work with stronger hope of realising their dreams. As they were the largest and best paper-makers in Annonay, they did not lack material for carrying on experiments, and when these experiments had repeatedly resulted in success, they decided that the rest of the world should be admitted into their secret. A large balloon, made of paper and taffeta, should be inflated in the public square, and be allowed to rise before the eyes of any who might gather there to see it. And they carried out this determination on June 5th, 1783. On that day there assembled at Annonay a number of local celebrities, and no better opportunity could have been chosen.
In the public square a large circular space was railed off to keep the crowd at a proper distance, and in the centre of this space rose a wooden platform to accommodate the new cloud-ship and the fire which was to fill it with the power of flight. Never had the brothers Montgolfier had a busier morning; never had the good people of Annonay seen such excitement in their quiet village. The crowd had gathered from far and near, and watched the busy workers round the mysterious platform with widely different thoughts. Some were silent with expectation, some jeered noisily; but, unconscious of praise or laughter, the two brothers directed their little band of workmen, confident of coming triumph.
At last the specially invited guests had all arrived, and when they were accommodated with seats, one of the brothers made a little speech of explanation, ending with the remark that he would apply a torch to the heap of chopped straw and wool beneath the platform. The smoke arising from these different kinds of fuel formed, when combined, he said, the most suitable gas for raising a substance into the air. These diligent brothers, however, had only partly learned the truth as yet, or they would have known that it was the heat, and not the smoke, which lifted the paper bag.
The torch was put to the straw, the yellow flames leapt up, and the smoke, passing through a hole in the platform, entered the open end of the globe-shaped bag, which up to the present had, of course, been lying flat and empty. Instantly a paper dome seemed to rise from the platform. This continued to grow in size, while the workmen stood round in a ring, each holding a rope which passed to the top of the dome. The ropes grew longer and longer as the balloon filled, and it soon became hard work to hold them. But on no account were the men to let go until the word was given.
When at last the paper walls were extended to their uttermost size, the wondering spectators saw a huge ball of some one hundred and ten feet in circumference, swaying uneasily to and fro with every breath of air, as though straining at its fetters. At last came the word. The ropes were released, and the great body rose rapidly into the air, followed by a thunder of applause. With straining eyes the crowd followed that wondrous flight. Higher and higher, nearer and nearer to the clouds, till what a few moments before was so very imposing in size seemed no bigger than a child's plaything. Then, caught in a current of air, it drifted out of sight for ever.
Such was the launching of the first ship in the new navigation of the clouds. On the place from which it started a handsome monument has been erected, bearing the names of the two builders—Joseph and Stephen Montgolfier—the brothers who always worked together, sharing equally the fame that their discovery brought, and never selfishly seeking for self-advancement. Recent searchings seem to show that the principal honour is due to Joseph, the elder, and, if one of the many stories told in detail (and repeated at the beginning of this article) may be relied upon, surely we ought to also remember with some praise the unknown woman who let lodgings in Avignon.
THE WAY TO WIN.
'I wish I could win one!' a lassie was sighing, When sitting quite still in a meadow one day, And thinking of prizes not won without trying— Not won by mere wishing as time slips away.
And as she sat wishing she heard a hen clucking; She lifted her eyes and that hen she could see, And soon it was rapidly scratching and chucking— As gay and as busy and glad as could be.
She watched how it struggled to upturn a treasure, A thing it was wishing for, something to eat, A worm to be dug for with patience and pleasure! 'Twas found, and it gave Henny-Penny a treat!
That worm the hen wished for she could not have eaten Unless she had scratched it right up from the ground; And Mabel had seen that the hen was not beaten— By carefully working the prize had been found.
So Mabel thought quietly over the matter, And learnt the good lesson, 'No prize can be won By thinking and wishing, by waiting and chatter!' And soon she jumped up and to work she begun.
FREED IN VAIN.
Prince, the parrot, was a proud and happy bird; he was proud of his gorgeous red and green feathers, of his ability to say 'Pretty Poll' and 'How do?' and, above all, of his fine gilded cage, which stood just inside the breakfast-room window.
But, in an evil hour, Prince, watching the birds which flew to and fro outside the glass, was struck with a desire for freedom. He thought no more of his splendid feathers, or his handsome cage; but, from morning till night, he wondered how he should get out. There was not wit enough in his parrot brain to make him understand that the cold English garden was not in the least like the flowery forest of his native island.
His chance came one snowy morning; the French window had been opened, after breakfast, that some one might go out and scatter crumbs for the robins. The cage-door happened to be open too. Unobserved, Prince darted swiftly out, and perched amid the leafless boughs of one of the high trees on the lawn.
He was free! but, oh, how cold it was! How wretched he was already beginning to feel! He crouched shivering on a bough; and when the snow began to fall again in large, wet flakes, he was more miserable than he had ever been in all his petted life.
Paralysed with cold and fear, he clung to the tree, too unhappy even to cry out and let people know where he was.
Poor Prince! he must soon have died if some one had not noticed the empty cage. The alarm was given at once, but it was some time before the bird was seen on his lofty perch.
When they did see him, and everybody called and coaxed 'Poor Prince! dear Prince!' to come down, he was too stupefied with cold and misery to do as he was told.
At last Tom, the page-boy, volunteered to climb the tree and try to reach Prince. It was rather a dangerous task, as the bark was slippery from the frost and snow; but Tom persevered, and, by dint of much effort, got hold of the parrot.
Prince was restored to his cage, but he had caught a bad cold, and never again held up his head as jauntily, or seemed as proud of himself, as he had done in former days.
C. J. BLAKE.
A KINDLY VISIT.
Willie Mortimer was a cripple, but he did not often complain of his lot, nor, as a rule, did he feel very unhappy about it. His love for drawing and painting was such a resource to him, that when he could hobble on his crutches down to the shore, he was never tired of watching the sea and the boats, and of trying to make sketches which he could work up into pictures at home, as he sat in the window of the little cottage.
But it was a year since the accident which had made the amputation of his leg a necessity, and for the first time Willie's cheerfulness was beginning to forsake him. He could not help noticing how worn and anxious his mother looked, and he knew how hard it was for her to earn enough money, by her plain sewing, to keep up the little house. Until the previous summer she had let lodgings, but she could not manage it when she was nursing Willie, and waiting on him after he left the hospital, and this year no people had applied for her rooms yet.
One of her former lodgers had been an artist, and it was he who, being struck with Willie's talent, had given him instruction, and taught him all he knew about art. But the boy was now thirsting for more knowledge. If only he could be trained to be an artist! That was his dream, and often he would sit at his little window, looking over the blue waters of the bay, while his eyes would fill with tears as he thought how impossible it was for a little ignorant boy to paint pictures which would have any beauty.
His pathetic face attracted Dora and Elsie Vaughan as they passed the cottage every day. They were having a perfectly lovely time in this Devonshire village, where their father had taken a house for the summer holidays. Mr. Vaughan was a celebrated artist, and Willie would watch him eagerly as he passed with his canvas and sketching materials, and would long for a sight of the pictures which would soon be so famous.
'That poor little cripple boy does look sad,' Dora said to her sister. 'I think we ought to go and visit him and take him some flowers.'
'But he is not always a prisoner,' Elsie answered. 'I see him on the beach sometimes with his crutches, and he is often trying to sketch boats and things.'
'Anyway it must be dull for him, and we might cheer him up a little,' Dora persisted.
'It is rather tiresome, though, when there are such heaps of lovely things to do, and the holidays do fly so quickly,' Elsie argued, for she was not as unselfish as her sister, and did not much care to give up her own pleasure.
However, Dora had her way, for Elsie knew from former experience that if she were really set on a thing, it saved trouble to give in at once and make the best of it. She even found a box of chocolates not quite empty, and with the sweets that were left, and some of Dora's, was able to fill a smaller box. Then they begged some cakes from the cook, and hunted up a couple of story-books from the number they had brought with them, and in the end had quite a well-filled basket for Elsie to carry. Dora picked a bunch of roses and then they set out for the cottage.
When they arrived Willie was sitting before his easel, looking sadly at his latest attempt at a picture, and thinking how poor it was compared with the scene his imagination painted. He was so shy and so much overcome by the honour of their visit that he could hardly find words to welcome them, but the girls' exclamations of delight when they saw his picture soon set him at ease.
'How lovely!' Dora cried. 'Did you really paint it yourself?'
'I have watched you sketching on the beach, but I never thought you were so clever,' Elsie told him, and Willie blushed with pleasure at their praise.
Then he opened the box on which his painting materials stood, and showed them all the pictures and sketches he had done in the past year.
'You see, Miss,' he said to Dora, 'now I cannot get about much, it passes the time; but I do wish I had somebody to tell me all the faults in them, and help me to do better.'
'We must bring Father to see them; he will not be backward about pointing out faults,' said Elsie, laughing, 'though I cannot find any myself.'
'But Mr. Vaughan is such a great artist, he would never look at my poor little pictures,' Willie said, flushing at the very thought.
'He may be a great artist, but he is a very kind father,' Elsie told him, 'and he nearly always does what we ask him.'
Certainly he did not disappoint his daughters this time. Moreover, he was amazed at the progress the boy had made with so little help, and saw that he was worth training.
'Your son has great natural talent,' he said to Willie's mother. 'I am even inclined to think he may be a genius. You must allow me to make it easy for him to be trained in the best schools.'
And so poor crippled Willie, instead of being a burden to his mother, became her pride and joy, beginning a career which was one day to make him even more famous than the artist who had given him a helping hand.
THE BOY TRAMP.
The first time I saw Captain Knowlton, we were living in lodgings at Acacia Road, Saint John's Wood. My Aunt Marion had breakfasted in bed, and I, having nothing better to do, wandered downstairs to what our landlady called the 'hall,' where I stood watching Jane as she dipped a piece of flannel into her pail, and smacked it down noisily on to the oilcloth, until there was a loud ringing of the street-door bell.
As Jane rose from her knees, rubbing her red hands on her apron, I edged along the passage, keeping touch of the wall, and staring unabashed at the tall, well-dressed, distinguished-looking visitor.
'Does Miss Everard live here?' he inquired.
'Yes, sir,' answered Jane.
'I should like to see her.'
'Master Jack!' cried Jane, 'do you know if your aunt has come down yet?'
But as I was on the point of running upstairs to find out, the visitor called me back.
'Half a second,' he said. 'Are you young Everard?'
'Yes,' I replied; and fixing an eyeglass in his left eye, he looked at me with considerable curiosity.
'Tell your aunt,' he continued, 'that Captain Knowlton wishes to see her.'
And upon that I ran off, shouting, 'Aunt Marion! Aunt Marion!' at the top of my voice. 'Aunt Marion,' I repeated, entering the sitting-room, 'Captain Knowlton is downstairs, and he wants to speak to you.'
'Captain Knowlton!' she murmured.
'Shall I bring him up?' I asked.
Rising from the sofa, and laying down the newspaper which she had been reading, Aunt Marion walked towards the door. She must have been near her thirty-fifth year at that time, about the same age as our visitor. She was tall, fair, and nice-looking, good-tempered, and perhaps a little careless. That morning she was wearing a light blue dressing-gown, although it was past eleven o'clock.
'Yes, bring Captain Knowlton up,' she answered, 'and ask him to wait a few minutes.'
As she went to the bedroom, I returned to the street door, where Captain Knowlton stood gazing at Jane as she continued to smack the oilcloth with her wet flannel.
'You are to come upstairs,' I cried, and following me to the sitting-room, he sat down and began to stare afresh.
'So you are poor Frank Everard's boy!' he said.
'Did you know my father?' I demanded, for I had no recollection of either parent, or of any relative with the exception of Aunt Marion, under whose charge I had moved about from lodging-house to lodging-house since I was four years of age.
'Well,' said Captain Knowlton, 'if I had not known him, I should not be here to-day.'
He became silent for a few moments, and then added, as he took my hand and drew me against his knee, 'Your father once saved my life, Jack. How old are you?' he asked.
'Eleven next month,' I replied, and, somewhat to my disappointment, Aunt Marion entered the room as I spoke, wearing the dress in which she went to church on Sundays.
'I have often heard of you, Captain Knowlton,' she said, as he rose from his chair, 'although I have never seen you before.'
'Oh, well,' he answered, 'I have been in India the last five years! I came home last week, and from a few words I heard at the club, I gathered that poor Frank Everard's boy——'
Aunt Marion's cheeks flushed, and she held her head a little further back.
'I have done the best I could for him,' she exclaimed.
'I am certain of that,' he continued; 'but, anyhow, I made inquiries, and, after some difficulty, succeeded in discovering your address. Perhaps,' he added, glancing in my direction, 'you would not mind sparing me a few minutes alone.'
To my great disgust, she told me to run away, so that I returned to the damp passage, which was now deserted by Jane. After waiting there what seemed a long time, I saw Captain Knowlton on the stairs. After bidding me good-bye, he let himself out of the house.
'Aunt Marion!' I cried, before there was time to reach the sitting-room, 'he says that Father saved his life!'
'Well, Jack, he said what was quite true.'
'But,' I continued, 'why did Captain Knowlton call father "poor Frank Everard?" Was he really poor?'
Aunt Marion sighed before she answered.
'Goodness knows, he ought not to have been,' she said. 'Your father had a lot of money when he came of age, but he was foolish enough to spend it all, and the consequence was that nothing remained for your mother, or for you when she died.'
'Hasn't Captain Knowlton any money either?' I asked.
'He has lately come into a large fortune,' she said; and then she told me that he had promised to come again at the same hour to-morrow morning, and take me out with him.
Captain Knowlton seemed so satisfactory in every way that the mere prospect of walking in the street by his side was enticing. I lay awake that night a long time, wondering where he would take me.
When I awoke the next morning, Aunt Marion said I was to put on my best clothes (which were nothing to boast of), and insisted on washing me herself, putting a quantity of soap into my eyes, oiling my hair, and, in short, doing her best in readiness for Captain Knowlton's arrival.
'Well, Jack, are you ready?' he asked, as he entered our room.
'Rather!' I answered.
'Have you got a handkerchief?' said Aunt Marion, and I drew it from my jacket as proof.
'Come along, then,' cried Captain Knowlton, and I rejoiced to see that he had kept his hansom at the door.
The first stoppage on that eventful morning was at the hair-dresser's, where I sat in a high chair, enveloped in a loose cotton wrapper, while Captain Knowlton smoked a cigarette and a man cut my hair, after which we went to a tailor's, where I was measured for two suits of clothes. Having visited a hatter's and a hosier's in turn, we entered a large restaurant, sitting down one on each side of a small table, Captain Knowlton leaning across it and reading the bill of fare aloud for my benefit.
'I think I will have roast turkey,' I said, after prolonged consideration, and I accordingly had it, with the accompaniment of sausage and bread sauce, to say nothing of the sweets and the ice which followed. But even what Captain Knowlton described as luncheon, and what I regarded as a kind of king of dinners, was eclipsed by what came afterwards, for we were driven to a theatre, where a comic opera was being played; and at seven o'clock that evening a very tired and sleepy boy, with his right hand tightly clenched on a half-sovereign in his jacket pocket, was deposited on the steps of the house in Acacia Road.
During the next few weeks Captain Knowlton was a frequent visitor, while, for my own part, I wished that he would come every day. One afternoon he arrived in the rain and stayed to tea.
'Now, Jack,' he said, setting down his empty cup, 'I should like to hear you read.'
But as I was bringing one of our small collection of books from the sideboard, he called me away.
'No, none of that,' he cried, with a laugh; 'something you have never seen before. Try the newspaper.'
Although I appeared to win approval by my reading of the extremely uninteresting leading article, he shook his head at the sight of my handwriting, whilst he seemed to be astounded by my total ignorance of Latin and French.
'The fact is,' he said, 'it is high time you went to boarding-school!'
Before he left the house that afternoon he had another private conversation with Aunt Marion, and a week or two later he arrived with the announcement that 'everything had been arranged.'
'Windlesham has been very strongly recommended to me,' he explained. 'The Reverend Matthew Windlesham, to give him his full title.'
'Has he a living?' inquired Aunt Marion.
'No, but he has a capital house, with a large garden and a meadow, at a place called Castlemore.'
'Where is that?'
'About a hundred miles from London. Windlesham has a wife and five daughters, and at present there are only six or seven pupils. As Jack is rather backward, it will suit him better than a larger school.'
So everything was decided, and I fancy that Aunt Marion looked forward to my departure with a satisfaction equal to my own—it could scarcely have been greater. Boys and girls were at that time an unknown quantity to us, as were most of their sports and pastimes.
It was true that there were scarcely enough of us at Ascot House for football or cricket; nevertheless we did our best in the meadow at the bottom of the garden, our scanty numbers being eked out by Mr. and Mrs. Windlesham's five girls. They were nice, kind people, and, when the first shyness had worn off, I settled down happily at Castlemore. During the next three uneventful years I received occasional visits from Captain Knowlton, while I grew greatly in stature, and, it is to be hoped, in knowledge.
The holidays were, for the most part, spent with Aunt Marion, sometimes in boarding-houses at the seaside, sometimes in London, and I had no anticipation of troubles ahead until shortly after I passed my fourteenth birthday.
(Continued on page 12.)
THE CASTLE LIGHT.
'I wish you would tell me, Grandfather, how it was you first thought of building a lighthouse tower.'
'Well, Conrad, if you will know, you shall hear the story,' and Sir Matthew Cairns, as he said these words, looked kindly down into the bright young face uplifted to his own.
'It was twenty years ago that the thought first came to me that Cairns Castle might serve as a beacon to those far out at sea. The reason for this was that on a certain winter's night a vessel was wrecked on these shores, solely on account of there being no light to warn her of her peril. More than a hundred souls went to their doom, to the joy, it is said, of the wreckers, who made a fine harvest on the coast at daybreak.'
'Oh, Grandfather,' Conrad said with a shudder, 'how awful! Surely we have no such people about now?'
His grandfather sighed, and, to turn the subject, proceeded to explain to the little lad his method of lighting the lamp.
Cairns Castle was an ancient building which overlooked the sea, its isolated position rendering it a very lonely dwelling-place. Sir Matthew, its present possessor, though by no means a wealthy man, had spent a considerable sum of money in adding a lighthouse tower to the castle. From the window-panes shone forth a gleam so clear and brilliant, that many a gallant seaman was guided safely home thereby.
'Let me light the lamp to-night, Grandfather,' said Conrad, after listening intently to all Sir Matthew's instructions. 'Perhaps it will guide Father and Mother on their way home from India.'
'Aye, laddie, perhaps it will; the good ship Benares should be nearing our coast by this time,' was the reply.
'Then may I, Grandfather?' said Conrad.
'Yes, my boy, and I will look on to see that you do it properly.'
Ah! little did Sir Matthew think, as he said these words, of the incidents which would take place, ere the castle light should next fling its friendly rays across the sea.
* * * * *
The November afternoon was creeping on apace, and Sir Matthew, absorbed in thought, drew long whiffs from his pipe, as he sat over the dining-room fire. The wind was wild and stormy, and dashed against the window-pane with angry force.
Conrad, who was busy preparing his lessons for his tutor next morning, looked up anxiously. But the words he was about to say were checked by the entrance of a rough-looking man of the fisher type.
It was William Forrest, or Black Bill as he was called by his neighbours, partly on account of his swarthy appearance, and partly because of his evil deeds.
The baronet rose in surprise, wondering at his entering the room unannounced.
'Good evening, Forrest,' he said.
'Evening, master,' was the sullen reply; 'I have come on business, and I want to see you alone.'
Sir Matthew bade Conrad take his lessons into the library, whilst he spoke to his visitor. The boy obeyed, unwillingly enough, for instinctively he felt that Black Bill meant no good to his dearly loved grandfather.
Somehow he could not give his mind to his lessons, and at length, thinking the interview must be ended, he returned to the dining-room. The sight which there met his eyes made his heart stand still with terror and alarm. His grandfather lay gagged and bound upon the floor.
It was the work of a few moments to remove the gag, and when Sir Matthew could find voice, he told the story of his attack.
Black Bill, who was in reality a wrecker, for some evil reason of his own, had endeavoured to extract from the baronet a promise not to light the lamp that night. Upon Sir Matthew's indignant refusal, he, with the aid of two colleagues who were waiting near, had next proceeded to render him helpless. They had already gagged and bound the three old servants of the castle. So massive were the walls and lengthy the passages that not a sound had reached Conrad's ears; and the men had apparently forgotten his presence in the castle.
The boy, in terrible distress of mind, tried to unloose the cords which bound his grandfather hand and foot.
'Never mind the cords, Conrad,' said the old man at last, 'they are more than you can manage. Go and light the lamp, for it is already past the hour, and may Heaven protect you.'
Conrad, sick at heart, turned to obey.
'I will do it, Grandfather,' he replied, looking fearfully around lest Black Bill and his colleagues should be listening. 'Then I will come back and help you,' he added bravely.
With light, fleet footsteps, the little ten-year-old laddie made his way along the passage, towards the staircase. Presently sounds fell on his ears which sent all the colour from his face. Black Bill and his comrades were talking together in a room close by, the door of which was open; and to reach the lighthouse staircase he must pass that very room. For a few minutes he crouched in shadow, too panic-stricken to move. He thought of his promise to his grandfather and of the homeward-bound Benares battling with wind and wave; then like an inspiration came the thought of Him Who stilled the waters of Galilee, and Who at this moment was watching over him.
The lad hesitated no more. On he sped past the open door, towards his goal. But, alas! Black Bill had noted his light footsteps.
'Stop, boy!' he shouted, 'or it will be the worse for you.'
But never once paused Conrad.
Then the men gave chase, and despair filled the brave young heart.
Mercifully in the darkness the men took a wrong turn, and the boy mounted quickly up, up, up, until he was safe in the shelter of the lighthouse tower.
It took him but a few seconds to turn the key in the lock, and to slip the heavy bolts. Then he was safe from his pursuers.
Meanwhile the good ship Benares was tossing on the angry sea, out of its course and in sore peril, with no castle light to guide it home.
Then, almost at the moment of its extremity, shot forth a brilliant gleam, and the gallant vessel was saved—saved by a little lad's courage and daring.
Black Bill, after hammering vainly at the door, at length turned away, muttering threats of vengeance.
An hour crept by on leaden wings, and at last, to Conrad's joy, he heard his grandfather's voice calling him by name. In a very short space of time they were face to face, and Conrad heard how that one man, more tender-hearted than the rest, had secretly returned to the castle (after Black Bill's departure) and freed Sir Matthew from his bonds.
* * * * *
Cairns Castle is now falling into decay, and its light no longer exists. But on the coast near by stands a magnificent lighthouse, which sends forth its life-saving gleam across the sea. Conrad has left boyhood far behind him, and has now little lads and lasses of his own. Many are the stories which their parents have to tell of the once stately home of the Cairns family, but the story the children like best to hear is how Father lit the Castle Light.
M. I. HURRELL.
THE INDIAN CHIEF AND THE BISHOP.
Bishop Whipple, who did so much work among the Indians of North America, tells how a great Indian chief became a Christian. 'One day,' he writes, 'the chief came to see me, and said that he wished to be a Christian; that he knew he must die some day, but he had been told of the new life into which Christians entered after death, and that he also would like to enter that life.'
'Shall I cut your hair?' asked the Bishop.
This strange question was understood perfectly well by the chief. It meant that he must cut off the bad old habit of going on the war-path.
'No, I cannot allow you to cut my hair,' he answered, reluctantly, for he was not ready to give up going on the war-path.
'Well, you cannot become a Christian unless you cut your hair,' said the Bishop, sorrowfully.
The chief went away, but he still attended the services which the Bishop held, and after some months came again to the Bishop.
'I want to be sure of that life after death,' he said. 'Please make me a Christian.'
'Shall I cut your hair?' asked the Bishop again.
'Yes; do whatever you like with me so long as you make me a Christian,' answered the chief.
Thus the chief eventually became a Christian, and many of his tribe followed his example.
THE NAUGHTY KITTENS.
'Look at old Puss,' the Kittens said, 'He's fast asleep, he nods his head; How dull and stupid it must be To be as slow and old as he! He lies and sleeps there in the sun, And does not try to play or run; Creep up and gives him just a pat— He ought to run, he gets so fat!'
But Puss awoke. 'Hullo,' said he, 'You think to play your tricks on me? I know I'm old, I'm glad I'm fat— My dear, kind mistress sees to that; I scare the birds while lying here— They dare not come when I am near, To steal my mistress's nice fruit; My time to some good use is put.
'But you! what have you done to-day, Except to romp and run and play?' The Kittens, looking quite subdued, Said, 'We are sorry we were rude.' 'Well then, this time I let you go,' Old Puss replied, 'for now you know That older folk are wiser far Than silly little kittens are.'
With this remark Puss walked away And left the Kittens to their play. I'm glad to say they ne'er forgot The lesson that they had been taught, And from that day tried hard to be From naughty, idle ways quite free; In fact they now behave so well That I have nothing more to tell.
C. D. B.
THE BEST LESSON.
A good man once had a serious illness, during which his life was several times despaired of. On his becoming convalescent, a friend said to him, 'It will be a long time before you are able to collect your thoughts to preach again, or to think of material for your sermons.'
'You are mistaken, friend,' was the answer. 'This illness has taught me more than all the books and learning I have studied in the whole of my life before.'
He had been not far from death, and had learnt more fully than any books could teach him, that there is something greater than mere human wisdom.
A MONKEY'S MEMORY.
A French lady on one occasion saw an organ-grinder ill-treating his monkey. She was moved with pity, and bought it. It became her chief pet, and used to follow her about everywhere. Once she invited a party of guests to a concert. The monkey was allowed to watch; but instead of staying where she had put it, it took the hat of one of the guests, and made a collection, much to the delight of the audience, and then emptied the contents into the player's lap. It had not forgotten its old habits.
THE BOY TRAMP.
(Continued from page 7.)
'Jack,' said Captain Knowlton, who had come to see me at Castlemore for a few hours, 'I have brought some news. Your aunt is going to be married.'
'Aunt Marion?' I cried.
'You haven't another aunt, have you?' he asked.
'No, of course not,' I answered; 'but I thought she was too old.'
'Anyhow,' he said, 'she is going to marry Major Ruston, and in about a month I shall come to fetch you to the wedding.'
'But,' I asked, 'what shall I do in the holidays?'
'We must manage as best we can,' he answered. 'You understand that I have taken you entirely off her hands. In the future you must look to me. Will you object to that?'
'I shall like it immensely,' I said; and the following morning Mrs. Windlesham helped me to compose a suitable letter of congratulation to Aunt Marion.
In due course Captain Knowlton came, according to his promise, to take me to the wedding, and we were driven direct from the London terminus to his own rooms in the Albany, where I made the acquaintance of Rogers, his servant, a pleasant-looking man, about twenty-seven years of age, who seemed always to wear a blue serge suit. Rogers took me to the Hippodrome that evening, and the next afternoon to a house at South Kensington, where I found Aunt Marion looking younger and more smartly dressed than I had ever seen her before.
'Did Captain Knowlton tell you the news?' she asked, when I had sat by her side for a few moments.
'I was surprised!' I exclaimed.
'I am sure I don't know why,' she answered, with a peculiar kind of laugh.
'Is Major Ruston here?' I asked.
'No,' she said; 'you won't see him until Captain Knowlton brings you to the church to-morrow. It is to be a very quiet wedding, and we shall start for India the next day.'
When Rogers returned to fetch me an hour later, Aunt Marion put her arms around my neck and kissed me a great many times, telling me to be good, and try in every way to please Captain Knowlton—advice which I considered very unnecessary.
After the wedding ceremony the following day, we went to an hotel, where the four of us had luncheon, and, later on, Captain Knowlton stood on the pavement without his hat, and took a white satin slipper from his pocket, throwing it after the carriage as Major and Mrs. Ruston were driven away.
'I don't think much of Major Ruston,' I remarked as I walked to the Albany with Captain Knowlton.
'What is the matter with him?'
'He is too fat, and his face is too red,' I answered, whereupon he laughed.
After Rogers had cleared the table that evening, and brought two cups of coffee, and Captain Knowlton had lighted a cigar, 'Jack,' he said, 'how old are you by this time?'
'Turned fourteen,' I replied.
'Ah, a grand age, isn't it?' he exclaimed. 'I was talking about you to Windlesham. He gave you a pretty good character on the whole.'
'I am glad of that,' I said, for although I had never thought much about my character hitherto, it seemed desirable to possess a good one, if only to please Captain Knowlton.
'A bit mischievous,' he continued, 'and rather headstrong. Inclined to act too much on the impulse of the moment. It is time you set to work in earnest, you know, Jack. You will have to look sharp if you wish to go to Sandhurst.'
'That is just what I should like!' I cried, with a great deal of excitement.
'That is all right then. You are quite old enough to understand things. I feel certain your father would have liked you to enter the army. Now,' he added, 'I am afraid you will have to spend the next holidays at Castlemore. I have one or two engagements which cannot very well be put off, and unfortunately there is nobody in the world who can be said to belong to you.'
I looked up abruptly.
'Well?' he asked.
'Oh—nothing!' I muttered.
'Come, out with it, Jack!'
'There is you,' I said; and he leaned forward, resting a hand on my knee.
'Quite right,' he answered. 'I want you to feel you have me. Understand, Jack?'
'Yes,' I cried, and suddenly I seemed to realise what a bad thing it would be if I had not Captain Knowlton to depend upon.
The next day I returned to Ascot House, naturally disappointed at the prospect of spending the holiday at school. The other fellows all went home at the end of March, and about a week later I was surprised when Elsie Windlesham, the eldest of the five girls, told me that Captain Knowlton was waiting in the drawing-room. But my satisfaction faded when he explained that he was going abroad for some months, and that he had come to say good-bye. 'The fact is I have not been up to the mark,' he continued, 'so I have bought a small steam yacht.'
'What is her name?' I interrupted.
'The Seagull—a jolly little craft, and I hope to make a voyage round the world in her. I shall get back again before the summer holidays, and then we will have a good time together. I have had a chat with Mr. Windlesham,' said Captain Knowlton, 'and told him to keep you well supplied with pocket-money and so forth. You will be a good chap,' he added, 'and work hard for Sandhurst.'
As he would probably be absent on my fifteenth birthday, he had brought a silver watch and chain, which certainly went some way towards consoling me for his departure. So I said good-bye to Captain Knowlton, little dreaming of what was destined to occur to both of us in the near future.
For now events began to happen quickly one on the top of another, and it was less than a fortnight after Captain Knowlton's departure that Elsie told me, as a great secret, that her father had been offered a lucrative living in the north of England.
'But,' I asked, 'how about the school?'
'That is why he has gone to London to-day,' she explained. 'He wants to sell the school before next term begins, and he has heard of somebody who will very likely buy it.'
A few days later, Mr. Turton appeared on the scene, accompanied by his wife and his only son, Augustus. Mr. Turton was not a clergyman, although he dressed a little like one; he was short, rather stout, with a pale face and an untidy dark beard. But his wife was tall and lean, and her face looked gaunt and pinched, while, as for Augustus, it was difficult to judge whether he ought to be described as a boy or a man. Taller than Mr. Turton, he had a long, thin face like his mother's, and a growth of fair down upon his chin. With a boy's jacket he wore a very high stand-up collar, while his hair sadly needed cutting.
I shook hands with the three in turn, and as I tried to think of something to say to the painfully bashful Augustus, I overheard a remark of Mr. Windlesham's which led me to believe I was being spoken of as an important source of revenue.
The result of Mr. Turton's visit was that the holidays were lengthened for eight days, to allow the Windleshams to move away and their successors to take possession of Ascot House. I learnt from Elsie that the furniture had been bought as it stood, and that Mr. Bosanquet—the assistant master, and a thoroughly good fellow—was to stay on for one term, after which Augustus would take his place.
'I have felt a little at a loss,' said Mr. Windlesham, the day before his departure. 'All the other boys are returning, but in your case I have been compelled to take Captain Knowlton's approval for granted. However, I have explained all the circumstances to Mr. Turton, and I have no doubt you will be very happy and comfortable.'
Still, I had certain doubts, and, in fact, after I had reluctantly said good-bye to Mr. and Mrs. Windlesham, and to Elsie and her sisters, and the fellows came back from the holidays, a change was at once perceptible. Perhaps, in some ways, an impartial observer might have regarded it as a change for the better. Everything was conducted in a far more orderly manner. We rose an hour earlier in the morning, and went to bed half an hour earlier at night. We had the same kind of meat every week-day in regular rotation, and less of it; our bread was cut thicker, and spread with less butter; we were no longer permitted to wander about the small town at our own sweet wills.
It became necessary to ask leave before we spent any money, and although Augustus shared for the present our lessons with Mr. Bosanquet, he acted as a kind of tyrannical overseer during the rest of the day.
One morning in June, about two months after Captain Knowlton's departure from England, I was summoned to Mr. Turton's study, and I found him with a more than usually grave face.
'Everard,' he said, 'you must be prepared for the most serious news.'
'Not about Captain Knowlton?' I cried, for it seemed that there was really no one else in the world for whom I very much cared.
'What was the name of his vessel?' asked Mr. Turton.
'The Seagull. You don't mean that she has been wrecked?' I faltered.
'Unfortunately, that is the fact,' was the answer.
Turning aside, I leaned against the door with my face buried in my sleeve.
Mr. Turton spoke kindly, as did Mrs. Turton in her rather cold, unsympathetic way; but nothing that any one could say made the slightest difference. I felt that I had lost my best and, indeed, my only friend.
(Continued on page 22.)
A HUNDRED YEARS AGO.
True Tales of the Year 1805.
I.—IN THE PILLORY.
One summer's day in the year 1805, a farmer's wife, carrying a heavy basket of eggs, was slowly trudging along a lane leading to the market town, when a woman ran hastily to her, calling out as she passed, 'You are in luck to-day, Mrs. Hodge! Eggs are so scarce that you can ask any price you like.'
'Why is that?' asked Mrs. Hodge, surprised.
'Why?' laughed the woman. 'Because every one wants them! A man has just been put in the pillory for speaking against the King, or the Parliament, I don't rightly know which; but at any rate he is safe in the pillory, and folk are having rare fun pelting him,' and the woman passed on to join in what she called 'the fun!'
Mrs. Hodge, however, was a woman of a different sort. 'I will sell none of my eggs for such cruel work as that,' she said resolutely. 'Sooner, by far, would I take the whole lot back unsold, that I would, than ill-treat an unfortunate man in that way.'
She had now reached the market-place, and there, on a platform raised several feet above the ground, stood a wide wooden post, with three round holes in it, through which appeared a man's head and his two hands. Thus imprisoned and utterly unable to protect himself in any way, he furnished sport for a thoughtless, cruel mob, who were aiming at him with rotten eggs, cabbage-stalks, and any rubbish that came to hand.
Mrs. Hodge's blood boiled with indignation as she saw the terror and agony in the poor man's eyes, as missile after missile hit him, each hit being greeted with a shout of delight from the populace.
'Shame on you!' cried the honest woman, and hastily leaving her basket at a shop-door, she somehow pushed her way through the masses, and climbing the platform, stood right in front of the pillory. 'Shame on you all, to hit a helpless man!' she cried again.
'Get down! get down!' shouted the mob, furious at any one interfering with their fun. 'Get down, or we will treat you the same!'
'More shame to you,' said the dauntless woman. 'I shall not leave for all your threats! Surely there will be one amongst you all who will not see a helpless man tortured.'
'But he is a bad man. He was trying to set folk against the Government. He deserves to be punished!' was shouted by different voices in the crowd.
'If he has done wrong he is being punished for it,' said the woman firmly, still continuing to shelter the man by standing before him. 'It is bad enough for him to stand all day in the pillory under this broiling sun, without having his eyes blinded and his nose broken. We shall all, maybe, want a friend one day, so let us help this poor fellow now. Here, Ralph,' she continued, catching the eye of the chief leader of the rioting, 'you said, when I saved you from bleeding to death in the hay-field last summer, that you owed me a good turn. Pay it me now! Leave this poor fellow alone, and get your friends to do the same.'
The man stood irresolute one minute; then his feeling of gratitude conquered him, and he said, half-sheepishly, 'Have your own way, Mother! I will see that no one throws any more at him.'
'That is right, Ralph,' said Mrs. Hodge, heartily, for she knew that Ralph's influence was great. 'Now for a pail of fresh water, and let me see if I cannot get all this dirt off this poor fellow's face and hair.'
'Thank you, Missis, you have been real good to me,' the man said, hoarsely. 'I could never have stood it much longer.'
The mob—fickle as mobs so often are—were now as ready to help as before to injure, and instead of jeering and reviling, there were now those who remarked that 'perhaps the chap was no worse than the rest of us,' whilst others were glad they had been stopped in time, for only a few weeks before a man had been killed, whilst standing in the pillory, by those who were only 'amusing' themselves in much the same fashion as folk on that day.
One of the crowd fetched water, and a woman brought a mug of milk, which was sweet as nectar to the poor man's parched throat, and now, though he had still many hours before sundown to stand in the pillory, yet it was shorn of its chief terror, as Ralph undertook to shield him from all further injury.
So he once more thanked Mrs. Hodge, and she returned to her eggs with a mind at ease.
* * * * *
It may surprise our readers to know that the punishment of the pillory remained on the Statute-book of this country until the year 1837, though it had practically fallen into disuse for many years before it was repealed.
The pillory came down to us from Anglo-Saxon times, and there was a law passed in the reign of Henry III., ordering every village to set up a pillory when required for bakers who used false weights, perjurers, and so on.
NOTHING IS PERFECT.
An Italian artist had painted a little girl holding a basket of strawberries. One of his friends, who was at the time a great admirer of his genius, wishing to show the perfection of the picture, said to some people who were looking at it, 'These strawberries are so very natural and perfect, that I have seen birds coming down from the trees to peck them, mistaking them for real strawberries.'
A countryman, on hearing this ridiculous praise, burst out laughing: 'Well, sir,' he cried, 'if the strawberries are so well represented as you say they are, it must not be the same with the little girl, since she does not frighten the birds.'
The painter's friend could answer nothing; he had received a well-deserved rebuke for his flattery.
MORAL.—Excessive praise wrongs rather than benefits the person upon whom it is bestowed.
I.—ON CAVERNS IN GENERAL.
Long ago, in the dark ages of the world, when superstitious terrors ruled the mind of savage man, caverns were looked upon with awe and peopled with supernatural beings. The mysterious waters that issued from some, the depth and length of the winding ways of others, the unaccountable sounds that echoed through the vaults and galleries of all, gave rise to wonderful legends in many parts of the world.
Beneath the Holy Peak of Kailas, supposed to be the centre of the Hindoo Universe, are caverns in which, according to legend, live the four sacred animals, the elephant, the lion, the cow, and the horse, from whose mouths issue the four great rivers of India, the Ganges, Sutlej, Indus, and Brahmapootra.
According to Scandinavian mythology, Loke, the incarnation of evil, was for a long time bound to points of rock in a cavern, with a huge serpent crouching above and spitting venom on the prisoner.
Hastrand, the nether world of the Vikings, was also depicted as a cavern of colossal size, furnished with poisonous serpents and unlimited sources of torture for mind and body.
The Greeks held caverns to be sacred to various gods—Pan, Bacchus, Pluto, and the Moon. The Romans peopled them with Sibyls, or priestesses of Fate, and beautiful nymphs; whilst in ancient Germany and Gaul, fairies, dragons, and evil spirits shared the gloomy recesses which no mortal might invade and live.
In the Middle Ages there were many legends of evil spirits dwelling in caves, who beguiled human beings to their rocky homes, whence the visitors never returned. Probably the truth of this particular fable lay in the growing spirit of exploration into the recesses of Nature, the dangers of which—ill provided with light, ropes, and modern means of security as they were—must have been extreme.
About this era, too, the forests of Northern Europe were largely thinned, and fairies, dwarfs, and such folk, it was thought, were obliged to take refuge in caverns and grottoes. Within the last hundred years a legend was common in the Hartz Mountains, that if a wedding feast lacked copper or brass kettles, cooking-pans, or plates, the needs would be supplied on invoking the dwarfs at the entry of their rocky homes. No payment was asked for or expected, but a little meat left in the pans on their return was appreciated and might lead to future civilities.
Moorish children are still brought up to believe that Boabdil, the last King of Granada, with his mighty host, is still sleeping in a huge cavern, whence he will some day issue to a last great victory over the Christians.
So far we have seen only the imaginative ideas of these great hollows of the earth, for 'hollow' is the true meaning of the Latin word cavea, from which cave or cavern is derived: now we will glance at the more practical purposes to which the smaller and more superficial caves have been adapted.
With the dawn of Christianity, many men and women, shocked at the excesses of Greek and Roman civilisation, retired from the world and led simple lives as hermits in remote caves. To this day, 'The Hermit's Cave' is a common name in England, and, though it is not always a genuine one, it usually denotes that in olden times some hermit or 'anchorite' passed his lonely existence in the spot in question.
Long before this era, in Hindoostan, advantage had been taken of natural caverns to hew into shape the marvellous rock temples of Elephanta, Ellora, and Ajunta, still accounted as amongst the wonders of the world.
In New Mexico and Arizona in remote ages whole tribes lived in caves, some natural, but more often made habitable by the aid of masonry. Most of these are high up on shelves edging precipitous cliffs, and were clearly chosen as places of refuge from enemies of the plain.
All over Europe caves are found containing bones of human beings, most of which are recognised by scientists to belong to an earlier race, who made use of these homes provided by Nature, both for abiding-places during life and resting-places for the dead. In many of these caves, sketches on bone, horn, and ivory have been found, remarkable for their clear and vigorous drawing at a time when art was an unknown quantity. It is noticeable that drawings found amongst the Esquimaux relics depict seals, whales, and walruses, whilst those of more southern races show mammoths, wild horses, and bisons; the only animals drawn by both being the reindeer.
Numerous caves in Britain, and indeed all over the world, contain bones of animals, and from classifying these, learned folk have found out a great deal respecting the geological and geographical changes which have taken place on the crust of the earth since the Creation.
Now that we have thought of the terrors with which caverns inspired our remote forefathers, as well as of the practical uses to which they have been put by less imaginative men and animals, let us try to see how and why these mighty hollows came to exist at all.
Earthquakes are often accountable for rocks heaped in wild confusion, leaving great chasms below. Volcanic agency also deposits huge roofs of lava over tracts of ice and snow, and the melting of the latter leaves empty spaces of vast extent. The neighbourhood of Mount Etna, in Sicily, has various wonderful caverns of this formation. Landslips and rock-falls on the surface account for many small grottoes, but water is the main origin of all the most celebrated caverns of the world. Underground streams and rivers gradually eat their way along the surface of their rocky flooring, the carbonic acid in the water acting chemically on the stone in addition to the wearing force of the element. Once a shallow channel is worn, new forces set to work to deepen it: sand, pebbles and grit of all kinds, washed down by the current, grind and wear away the rock. In course of time great depths are hollowed out, and if it happens that some obstacle turns the course of the water, and the river finds a new outlet, a long deep gallery is left dry, and here and there an apparently bottomless pit where the water has acted on specially soft stone. From above, also, a steady action of moisture has been eating away the cliff, adding height to the cavern, as well as coating its roof and sides with a sparkling substance derived from the union of water and particles of the limestone, in which caves usually abound.
Nothing can be more beautiful, when illuminated, than a roof of stalactites, with ascending pillars of stalagmite often meeting and forming pillars, like those which will be later on described in the Mammoth Cave and others. The building of these fairy grottoes is really a simple matter, but one only possible to the Great Architect to whom a thousand years are as one day; for a very little bit of one of those stony icicles would take hundreds of years in formation. Water flowing above a cave is certain to contain carbonic acid, some given to it by the atmosphere, and some imparted from decaying vegetation. This water oozes slowly through the rock, and the carbonic acid in passing dissolves a mite of lime, carrying it through the roof, to which the lime adheres whilst the water evaporates. Drop follows drop, each tiny particle sliding down its fellow, until, as weeks and years and centuries roll by, a lovely long pendant is formed, known as a stalactite. Sometimes the drops of acidulated watery lime fall through the roof by an easier passage, and fall right on to the floor of the cavern, when an upward process takes place, each drop exactly striking the one before, until one of the stately columns arises known as a stalagmite.
AN OCEAN POLICEMAN.
Amid a flutter of flags and the cheers of onlookers, the 'ocean policeman,' H.M.S. Speedy, first took to the water on May 18th, 1893. Its birthplace was the banks of the Thames at Chiswick, but hardly had it settled itself on the smooth surface of the river when orders came from official quarters that it should proceed at once to school. They were no easy lessons that it had to learn, and the subsequent examinations were extremely difficult and trying, for they were conducted by a large crowd of the most learned gentlemen in England and the Continent connected with naval matters. The school was at Sheerness, and here the Speedy spent four months in preparation. On September 28th the first run was made, and three weeks later the examiners were delighted to find that this splendid new boat was able to steam at a speed of twenty knots an hour. Everything the inventor and designer had claimed for her was proving true. The new style of tubing in the boilers made it possible to get up steam very quickly after the fires were lighted, so that when the order came to start there was no 'Oh, wait a minute, please; I am not quite ready!'
The engines, four thousand five hundred horse-power in strength, did their work far more nimbly than those in any previous gunboat of the same size. The vessel is two hundred and thirty feet long, and can steam triumphantly through water no more than ten feet deep. That in itself is enough to terrify evil-doers who would otherwise hope to escape by getting into shallow water beyond her reach. But in addition, she carries two large guns and a search-light.
Having thoroughly satisfied the examiners, this huge scholar soon had the honour of receiving a commission, and is now on duty in the North Sea among the brown-sailed fishing-smacks, like a gigantic duck watching over her ducklings. There are several gunboats of the British navy employed in the same way, but few of them quite so modern as the Speedy, or so capable of guarding the interests of the fishermen. Any foreign smack or lugger that comes within three miles of the English coast is 'trespassing,' and is immediately called upon by the Speedy to give an explanation. If the trespasser hesitates, a boat is lowered from the steamer with an officer on board to make inquiries, and should the answers to his questions be unsatisfactory, the stranger and his boat are sent prisoners to the nearest English port.
Thus, up and down among the great fleet of peaceful fishers, the Speedy plies all day, and even in the darkest night her watching is as keen and sure, for then her search-light, a dazzling beam, sweeps over the sea in all directions, and not the tiniest rowboat could escape unseen. Many a time it has revealed some stealthy marauder who hoped, under the cover of darkness, to pull in a net of fish from these forbidden waters and then sail into some French or Dutch port undetected. All chance of escape, however, is over when once that dazzling light falls upon the dishonest craft.
And who would begrudge such protection to our fishermen? Their busy fleets are floating towns of industry, in which some thirty-three thousand men and boys are employed. In 1901 their harvest represented eight million six hundred and forty-seven thousand eight hundred and five hundred-weight of fish, and realised six million eight hundred and forty-eight thousand one hundred and ninety-two pounds in money. A very large portion of this came from the North Sea.
But such treasure is only secured at great danger and with loss of life. In this same year 1901, over three hundred fishermen were drowned, some in wrecks and collisions, some in missing barks, and many by being dragged overboard by the cumbersome fishing gear. At all hours of the day and night, at all seasons of the year, these perilous labours are carried on, and when we think of this, is it not some gratification to know that the rights and privileges of our fishermen are jealously guarded by such stalwart ocean policemen as the Speedy?
In London town the streets are gay, And crowds go quickly by, It is a glorious summer day, But I sit here and sigh; The pavement's hot, my feet are sore, Yet I must wait outside the door.
I cannot bear to sit out here, But I am tied up fast, I saw my master disappear, But I could not get past; 'No dogs allowed inside this shop' They said, so here I have to stop.
Ah! here he is, and off we go! 'Tis jolly to be free! I bark, and do my best to show, As he caresses me, How much I love him, for to part From him I know would break my heart.
C. D. B.
THE FROG AND THE GEESE.
Two wild geese, when about to start southwards for the winter, were entreated by a frog to take him with them. On the geese consenting to do so if a means of carrying him could be found, the frog produced a stalk of long grass, got the two geese to take it one by each end, while he clung to it in the middle by his mouth. In this manner the three were making their journey, when they were noticed by some men, who loudly expressed their admiration of the plan, and wondered who had been clever enough to discover it. The proud frog, opening his mouth to say, 'It was I,' lost his hold, fell to the earth, and was dashed to pieces.
From LA FONTAINE.
AN INDIAN CUSTOM.
'Look here!' said a young fellow as he opened the door of the log-house, in Canada, where he and a friend were 'camping out.' 'See what I have found dangling from a tree in the forest;' and he held up for his friend's inspection a tiny pair of leather moccasins gaudily embroidered with coloured beads.
'You must put those back where you found them,' said his friend quickly.
'They are of no value,' interrupted the other; 'there is a hole in the toe. I expect some Indian mother hung them there to get rid of them.'
'No! no! they were hung there because the child who wore them is buried under that tree, and these moccasins are put there for its use in the next world,' explained his friend.
'Oh, if that's the case!' said the young fellow, 'I will go back at once, and replace the little shoes, for I would not hurt their feelings about their dead friends for anything.'
So the little shoes were once more hung on the bough of the big fir-tree.
Mistaken as are the Red Indian's ideas of the next world, he is yet as careful as we are to honour the last resting-place of his loved ones.
THE BOY TRAMP.
(Continued from page 15.)
Mr. Turton lent me the newspaper in which he had read the account of the wreck of the Seagull, and upstairs, in the room which I shared with two other fellows, I sat down on my bed to master it.
It appeared that the skipper of the vessel, with seven of the crew, had been landed by a British cargo steamer at Hobart Town, Tasmania. The Westward Ho! had picked them up in a small boat about seven days out from Capetown.
According to the story of the Seagull's skipper—Captain Wilkinson—she had experienced extremely bad weather for some days, and, becoming almost unmanageable, had been run down by a large liner in the middle of a dark night at the height of the gale.
Whether the liner was British or foreign, Captain Wilkinson could not state; but, in any case, she had continued on her way without attempting to stand by to save life. The Seagull foundered in less than ten minutes, Captain Knowlton persisting in his refusal to leave in the first, and—as Captain Wilkinson declared—the only, boat which got away. He had done his utmost to stand by, in spite of the fury of the gale; but when day broke, and the storm to some degree abated, there was no sign of either Captain Knowlton or the Seagull. That she had foundered with the remainder of the crew and her owner the skipper had not the slightest doubt, although he went as far as to admit, to the newspaper reporter, the possibility that the small boat in which he had escaped might have drifted some distance from the scene of the wreck in the darkness.
My only gleam of hope was due to Mr. Bosanquet, although I felt inclined to discount this, because he was given to look at the brightest side of things, and often predicted fine weather just before a storm.
'Still,' he urged, 'you do not know for certain that Captain Knowlton was drowned. I admit there is a great probability that you will never see him again, but, after all, it is quite within the bounds of possibility that the skipper's boat drifted away, and that the owner and the rest of the crew managed to leave the Seagull. Of course,' he added, 'if I am right, you are pretty certain to hear something farther in a week or two.'
Accordingly I lived in the most acute suspense during the next few days; but the time passed without news of Captain Knowlton, and such faint hope as I had cherished faded entirely away. In the meantime it seemed evident that Mr. and Mrs. Turton had not shared it. I learned from Augustus that his father had written to Mr. Windlesham, asking that I might be removed from Ascot House as a bad bargain.
Moreover, I began to observe a kind of resentfulness in Mr. Turton's demeanour, and especially in his wife's. It was rumoured in the school that they were 'hard up,' and hence the shorter supplies of meat and butter. But it was Augustus who first made me realise my new situation.
'I say, Everard,' he said, when we were alone one day, 'I should not care to stand in your shoes. Now Captain Knowlton is dead you cannot stay here, you know.'
'Well,' I answered, 'who wants to stay? I am going to Sandhurst soon.'
'I guess you are not, though!' he exclaimed. 'There is no one to pay for you, and Windlesham is mean enough to say he won't take you off our hands.'
The entrance of Mr. Bosanquet put an end to Augustus's gloomy forecast of my future, and, as the assistant master seemed to be the best friend I had left, I asked his opinion on the subject.
'Of course,' he said, taking my arm, 'it is a rather difficult position. If Captain Knowlton has left a will with a legacy to you, there need not be much difference; but Mr. Turton is of opinion that if this were the case, he would have heard from the solicitor. Mr. Turton is a good deal perplexed to know what to do with you, though we will hope for the best, in spite of everything.'
Now, I was fifteen, and fairly tall and strong for my age. I could easily perceive the difficulties at which Mr. Bosanquet hinted, and that, if Captain Knowlton were actually dead, and had left me nothing in his will, there was only Aunt Marion to whom it was possible to look for help; and she had taken no notice of me since her wedding-day. I was ignorant of her address in India, and felt that I should be little better off even if I knew it. So, after a few days' reflection, I determined to speak to Mr. Turton.
'Well, Everard, what is it now?' he demanded, a little impatiently, as I entered his study.
'I want to know about the holidays,' I answered. 'Where am I to go?'
'Just what I should like to be in a position to tell you,' he exclaimed. 'At present I have been unable to discover the name and address of Captain Knowlton's solicitor, but, when I go to London with the boys at the end of the term, I shall do my best to gain farther information. We will put off the discussion until my return.'
It was, however, impossible to keep the question of my future in the background, and no day passed without many speculations. Numerous out-of-the-way projects had one peculiarity in common—they were all to end satisfactorily. Even if I were fated to endure certain trials and hardships, I felt perfectly confident in my ability to rise above them eventually.
The first important difference which I experienced as a result of the loss of the Seagull occurred on the Saturday after this interview with Mr. Turton. It was the custom to go to Mrs. Turton after dinner on Saturday for our pocket-money; my own allowance since Captain Knowlton's departure having been a shilling a week.
'What do you want, Everard?' asked Mrs. Turton, when my turn came.
'My shilling, please,' I answered.
But she ominously shook her head.
'I am afraid there will not be any more pocket-money for you this term!' she exclaimed—and, suddenly understanding, I walked dejectedly away. Before I had gone many yards Smythe took my arm.
'I can lend you fourpence, old chap,' he said.
'Awful ass if you do,' cried Augustus, who had a knack of overhearing what was not intended for his ears.
'Why am I an ass?' demanded Smythe.
'Because Everard will never pay you back.'
'Suppose I don't want him to pay me back?'
'Oh, well!' said Augustus, 'of course, if he is beggar enough to take your money!'
I should have liked to kick Augustus as he walked away with a snigger; but at least he had made it impossible to take advantage of Smythe's offer. It was a new and painful experience to stay outside the confectioner's shop while the other fellows entered, and the matter was freely discussed in my presence by Smythe and the rest on our return. Indeed, justice compelled me to agree with Barton's opinion that, as Turton stood uncommonly little chance of being paid for the current term's board and tuition, it was scarcely to be expected that he should feel inclined to provide me with additional pocket-money.
The end of the term soon came, and on the last afternoon I stood listening while Smythe, Barton, and the rest of the fellows boasted of all the wonderful things they intended to do during the holidays.
'I should not care to stand in Everard's shoes,' said Augustus. 'As likely as not he will have to go to the workhouse before he has done. He will see when my father comes back from London.'
Before they all set out to the railway station the next morning, Mr. Bosanquet took me apart for a last word of hope and encouragement. He was not to return to Ascot House after the holidays, and for my part I felt extremely sorry to bid him good-bye.
'I feel confident Mr. Turton will do his best for you,' he said. 'But you must try to make allowances if he seems a little put out. He is not by any means a rich man, and, of course, he had to pay Mr. Windlesham for the goodwill of the school. Mr. Turton will feel the loss of your bill, you understand—that is to say, if Captain Knowlton does not turn up again.'
'If he had been rescued,' I asked, 'don't you think we should have heard news of him before now?'
'Well, in all probability we should,' said Mr. Bosanquet. 'But strange things happen sometimes, you know; and, after all, I do not consider it impossible that he may be stranded somewhere, and prevented from communicating with his friends.'
'Still,' I answered, 'all the newspapers and Mr. Turton say he must be dead.'
'Anyhow,' he insisted, 'there is no positive proof, and even at the worst his solicitor may be able to satisfy Mr. Turton about your future.'
(Continued on page 26.)
THE BOY TRAMP.
(Continued from page 23.)
At last the other fellows went to the station with Mr. Turton and Mr. Bosanquet, leaving me to enjoy the company of Augustus and his mother, who did not make much of an attempt to disguise her disfavour. It may be imagined with what anxiety I awaited Mr. Turton's return from London. He arrived at Ascot House late the following evening, having passed one night away from home. Although he had a long talk with Mrs. Turton, he did not speak to me that evening; but an ominous note seemed to be struck when Augustus told me I was henceforth to breakfast alone in the schoolroom. So, to my great disgust, the following morning, whilst Augustus and Mr. and Mrs. Turton breakfasted in the dining-room, a cup of milk and water, with five thick slices of bread and scrape, were brought to me on one of the desks; no bacon or egg, or relish of any kind, accompanied the meal.
Presently the door opened again, and Mr. Turton entered with a troubled face.
'Well, Everard,' he said, 'I succeeded in finding the address of Captain Knowlton's solicitor, and I had a long conversation with him.'
'Does he think Captain Knowlton is dead?' I exclaimed.
'I regret to say that he has no doubt about the fact; but, at the same time, the estate cannot be administered for some months yet. In any case that will make no difference to you. Captain Knowlton had not made a will, and everything he died possessed of will pass to his nearest relatives.'
'Then—then, what am I to do?' I asked.
'The circumstances are extremely unfortunate,' was the answer. 'For me it is a serious loss, and I confess it is difficult to know what to do for the best. I understand you have no relatives of any kind.'
'Only my Aunt Marion.'
'Ah, that is the Mrs. Ruston whom Mr. Windlesham mentioned. She is in India, I believe?'
'Yes,' I answered, 'but I do not know her address.'
'I can no doubt find it out in an Army List,' he said. 'But from what Captain Knowlton told Mr. Windlesham, I fear little is to be gained in that direction.'
From that day nothing was the same, and I soon began to realise that my presence in the house was regarded as a nuisance. All my meals were solitary, and I seldom had enough to eat.
'Everard!' cried Mrs. Turton, directly I had finished breakfast two mornings after the above conversation, 'all the servants are very busy this morning, so you must make your own bed.'
If she had told me to stand on my head, I should not have felt more surprise.
'Don't you understand?' she demanded.
'Yes, Mrs. Turton.'
'Then why do you stand staring there? Please set about it at once.'
I went upstairs to the bedroom which I had occupied alone since the beginning of the holidays, and after staring at the bed for a few moments, I was about to strip off the clothes, when I heard a snigger at the door.
'Hullo, Susan!' cried Augustus.
Darting to the dressing-table, I seized a hair-brush, and threw it at his head. Unfortunately it hit him on the forehead, making an ugly cut, and, of course, he at once went to show Mr. Turton, who came upstairs a few minutes later, by which time my bed was made—after a fashion.
'What was your reason for attacking my son?' demanded Mr. Turton.
'Well,' I answered, rather sullenly, I am afraid, for I was growing somewhat desperate, 'he should not be cheeky.'
'You will not leave this room until dinner-time,' he said, 'and your meal will consist of bread and water.'
I spent a miserable morning staring out of the window on to the garden and the fields beyond, without a book to pass the time, my only comfort being the sight of Augustus with a strip of court-plaster above his left eyebrow.
At half-past one a servant came to tell me to come down to dinner. Alone in the schoolroom, I at first determined to refuse my food, until hunger conquered my resolution, and I ate it every scrap. Soon afterwards Mrs. Turton entered, but she said nothing about Augustus's injury.
'You must not spend your time in idleness,' she exclaimed.
'There was not anything to do in my bedroom,' I answered.
'The house is being cleaned,' she said, 'and all the woodwork has to be washed. You may as well go down to the kitchen for a pail of hot water and begin with the wainscotting in the hall.'
'I'm not a servant!' I answered.
'Honest work is no disgrace to anybody,' she said. 'You must try to make yourself useful in every possible way, and be careful not to splash your jacket.'
Raging inwardly at my task, I only hesitated a few moments; then, going down to the kitchen, I asked the good-natured cook for a pail of water.
'I call it a shame!' she muttered. 'Things were different in Mr. Windlesham's time. A shame I call it.'
'Oh, it doesn't matter,' I answered, feeling not a little embarrassed by her sympathy.
She filled an iron pail at the boiler-tap, and, as I stood waiting, my thoughts flew back to earlier days at Acacia Road, and to Jane and her energetic manner of smacking the oilcloth. But I suppose my ideas had developed since those times, and certainly I felt this morning that I was being subjected to the lowest humiliation. However, I carried up the pail, slopping the water on the stairs at every step, with a scrubbing-brush in the other hand, and then I set to work. When once I had begun, I cannot pretend that I found the actual washing of the wainscot particularly distasteful, although it seemed rather hard, after I had done my best, that Mrs. Turton should upbraid me for soiling my clothes.
It was perhaps a week later that the notion of running away definitely entered my mind. By that time I had cleaned a considerable portion of the woodwork of the house, lime-whitened a portion of an outside wall, filled several coal-scuttles, and swept the yard. My clothes were naturally not at the best at the end of the term; I had grown considerably since they were new, and now they were splashed with distemper and soiled with dirt. One Monday morning I noticed the absence of the boy who cleaned the boots and knives and forks, and remarked upon it to Augustus.
'You see we shall not want him now,' he answered, with one of his irritating sniggers, and I fully understood the significance of his words. I try to do the Turtons no injustice, reminding myself that, to begin with, they were far from rich, and that they had lost the forty pounds or more which should have been paid for the last term's board and schooling. Moreover, they had not known me for some years, as the Windleshams had done; I was in their house, requiring food and shelter, and perhaps they could not reconcile their consciences to turning me out. So they determined to make me useful in the only possible way.
Already I had begun to wonder what would happen when Smythe and the other fellows came back after the holidays. One thing I knew for certain, and this was that Augustus would not fail to tell them how I had spent the time since they left; in fact, he had more than once hinted at their interest in my proceedings. The dismissal of the boot-boy made me more and more apprehensive that I should still continue to be degraded after the beginning of the term, while I felt humiliated by the conviction that, even in the present circumstances, Mr. and Mrs. Turton were keeping me only on sufferance.
But this Monday morning brought me to a determination. I had finished breakfast, and was wondering what I should be set to do next, when Augustus opened the schoolroom door.
'Everard,' he said, 'you are to clean my boots.'
'Clean them yourself,' I retorted.
'I shall tell Father,' he exclaimed.
'Tell your mother, too, if you like,' I said.
He went to tell them, and a few minutes later Mr. Turton entered the room.