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the Forest,' and the "Spy,' and the ‘Pioneers,' and the Pilot,' and--a lot more. I have just finished reading the Scottish Chiefs.'
"Upon my word you have a marvellous capacity for jam-tart; I wonder you do not get tired of them. And the jam of some of these tarts is made of very crude, unripe, unwholesome fruit. Now you know when any particular kind of food has made you ill, it is wise to refrain from it entirely for a while, and to return to it in due season with caution ?"
"Now I think your unrestrained novel-reading has done you some harm, and I want you,-mind, I do not command you, I leave it to your own good sense, I want you to give up all novels and story-books for the present. You can return to them again in due time, and they will not be injurious if wisely chosen and not indulged in to excess. Fiction, good fiction, will not hurt you when you have laid up a store of sound, indispensable facts; as it is your views of history are of the vaguest, wildest kind. History and romance are so blended in your mind that you do not know which is which, and I have no doubt you believe in Brian de Bois Guilbert and Cedric the Saxon as implicitly as you believe in Richard Cour de Lion and John Lackland.”
I was afraid I did, but I said nothing, only I promised that I would forego literary jam-tarts for at least a season, and devote myself heart and soul to the studies in which I was about to engage. I wondered at the time how the doctor knew so well what I had been reading, since assuredly Mr. Drew, who conducted the negotiation, could not have told him; and Martin, like many other uneducated persons, thought it was all right so long as I had a book in my hand. I afterwards discovered that the Marchioness herself had written to Dr. Richardson, and I had been very frank with her, giving at her request quite a long list of the books that I had read, and discussing at some length my favourite scenes and characters. And she had said, “I am glad you love books, Hugh, and glad that you have read so much and remember so well, but I think it is time you had a change.” I soon rose from the bottom of the form to the top, and my
classmates consequently began to regard me with some respect. Also I began to know the boys in the head-master's house, and to consort with the younger ones. The elder ones, who were almost young men, seemed nearly as grand and awful as the masters themselves. About the end of the week I began to be intimate with several lads of my own age, and I was taken into confidence, and told the nicknames of the different masters, and initiated into certain bye-laws passed and strictly enforced by the pupils themselves. There were two boys in the fifth form, Roger Blake and Charlie Craven, with whom I speedily, consorted. Blake was scarcely older than myself ; Craven was two years my senior.
Let me pause for a moment here to speak of Craven, my childish favourite, my friend, my brother, to whom I owe so much. School friendships are rare ; but when they do occar, and are true, genuine friendships, not mere fluctuating alliances, they are among the very firmest bonds which men acknowledge. Charlie Craven was my first friend, my best friend ; his influence over me always was for good, and his nature in some sort swayed mine from the hour we first met under the tall elms in the School-close at Stoketon till the heavy day when I watched the familiar face fading in the shadow of that great Presence who will some day come to me as it has come already to so many whom I love.
Charlie Craven was a splendid boy to look at. He was fair as the morning, his features were fine and expressive, his chestnut curls clustered round a broad, white forehead, and his beautiful soul shone out from his lustrous dark blue eyes. And yet there was nothing effeminate in his looks; his beauty was essentially of a manly type; he was frank, bold, fearless, full of fun, and always ready for a daring exploit, provided it did not clash with his sense of honour, which was scrupulously fine. He was truthful to a proverb, for if in the school any difference of opinion arose, or the testimony of any one was doubted, he was at once referred to by both masters and boys. “ Ask Craven,” his schoolfellows would say, " he saw it, he can tell.” Craven, I trust to you for the whole truth,” I have heard Dr. Richardson say more than once on occasions when conflicting statements were perplexing him. He was the universal favourite ; I think all in that great house loved him. I am sure all esteemed him, even the cowards and the sneaks, who of course were not wanting in so promiscuous an assembly; and I am proud to think that among all these friends and allies I speedily became his dearest and most intimate companion. Of late years I have known men of rank and men of literature; I have been the associate of some whose name is mighty even among the great ones of the earth; my name has been linked with theirs; I have taken an honourable standing among them, but still I am proud to know that, even in the days of boyhood, Charlie and I called each other friends, and that to the very last we were friends, fast and true.
Ay, and we are friends still, though the shadowy stream that divides the shores of the two worlds flows between us, and though the veil that darkens the far beyond-if, indeed, it be far, and not not very near, as some have thought-hides him and those with whom he now dwells from my dim sight. Of one thing I am per-suaded: over the river, beyond the veil, in the heavenly country, he" waits and watches for me." When I too am summoned to that glorious but mysterious land may my soul be calm and fearless as his soul was ere it winged its flight across the sea of death"; may my hope be as bright, my faith as steadfast, my repose as sweet as his, who knew in whom he trusted, and that He, His God, His Saviour, would keep that which was committed to Him till the blessed day of the restitution of all things.
I have said so much because henceforth Craven mingles with my story, and because it is very sweet to me to speak thus of one whom I loved and honoured more than any other man.
CHAPTER XIII. A MOTHER's Rights. Once settled at school, the time passed rapidly ; though not overworked, we were kept pretty closely to our studies, and in recreation time we were expected to play with a will, and to carry on our games with vigour. Our rules were few but strictly enforced. The doctor disliked corporal punishment, nevertheless he inflicted it whenever he believed it to be necessary; and though I never had the honour of undergoing a thrashing at his hands, I am sure his castigations must have been no child's-play; since he flogged as he did everything else—very thoroughly, and to the pur
He used to say that he infinitely preferred one sound thrashing to half a dozen small canings, which vexed and irritated the lads without really punishing them, and only tended to harden them, and to dull the sense of shame which it is of so much im. portance to preserve alive and keen. The under-masters were not allowed to administer this special discipline ; no one flogged, save the doctor himself, and I am bound to say it was only in extreme cases that he resorted to the cane, and always with sincere reluctance. During the four years I spent at Stoketon, I remember not half a dozen thrashings, and there were never less than from three to four hundred boys in the school. It was only for the very gravest moral offences that boys .were thus punished ; lying was always dealt with most severely, and at the same time the doctor was most anxious, and on his subordinates he succeeded in impressing the same anxiety—that no lad should be frightened into a lie! Mere equivocation or thoughtless denials of fact he would pass over with grave rebuke, or with earnest expostulation. He would say, “I am sure you could not intend to deceive ; you had not time to think; it was very weak of you, and weakness unless conquered always turns to wickedness; but for the present I prefer to believe
you sinned more in the hurry of the moment than from evil intent. Only remember that a habit of untruthfulness is very
quickly established, and once established, the boy, and nearly always the man, is hopelessly dishonoured. This one thing I ask, I entreat of you all, that you tell me the truth, and that you speak the truth to all the masters, and among yourselves. Be gentlemen, or rather be Christians, then you cannot fail to be all that your best friends can wish."
But the deliberate lie was never condoned, and if it were persisted in, especially in the higher forms, expulsion was the consequence. In such cases the offender pleaded, parents and friends remonstrated in vain. “No!" the doctor rould steadily reply; "I cannot, I dare not keep him here to demoralise the school. I must not give him another chance, lest I diminish the chances of three hundred other boys.” And on one occasion when a very shameful lie had been told to conceal a very shameful fact, he indignantly exclaimed before the assembled school, “Gentlemen, we are dishonoured! It is known that lying and cheating have prevailed among us, yet we know not who lies or who cheats. Till the mystery is cleared up, till the stain is removed, we are all dishonoured, I and my assistants, and yourselves, from the oldest to the youngest, from the first form to the last. Gentlemen, shall we remain thus degraded ? I appeal to you; I need your support; I call upon you to aid me to put away this evil thing from our midst that we may stand as of old—Sans peur et sans reproche !'”
Like the great Arnold, our doctor placed absolute confidence in the assertions of any boy whose veracity remained unimpeached, and he never permitted strong or repeated affirmations or denials.
On your honour, sir ?” he would sometimes say to a boy whose statement seemed rather dubious. And if the lad replied, “On my honour," or, “my word, sir," it was quite enough, and no more questions were put. Thus only the vilest dared to tell Dr. Richardson a falsehood ; only the very meanest and basest souls, who would have been mean and base under any circumstances, condescended to deceive so noble a candour, so transparent an integrity.
Of course the school had its disadvantages, like other public schools. We were not faultless ; and, in spite of our doctor's grand, wise government, we had our weak points, our dark spots, our wanderings from righteousness. Still I believe that a public school is nearly always to be preferred to a private one; the temptations of the latter are of a different class, but they are temptations notwithstanding; indeed, it seems impossible that any large community to some extent isolated from the rest of the world—a little world of itself, in fact, whether it be composed of men or women, of boys or of girls—can be exempt from certain perils and certain snares peculiar to its very existence and to its unavoidable constitutions. As a rule,--of course there are exceptions, and perhaps you will think that I am unduly prejudiced in favour of the system under which I was educated; but, as a rule, I have found that public schools turn out an average number of gentlemen and private schools an average number of snobs.
I spent every Saturday and Sunday at Dovercourt, and I went up to the Castle every Sunday evening, and saw the Marchioness alone. We had what we both called “very nice talks," and I was always encouraged to tell everything about myself and about my companions as connected with myself, though any approach to small gossip or anything at all like tale-bearing was invariably repressed. I was questioned, too, about my progress, and exhorted to make good use of my opportunities. On my first visit I confessed to feeling disappointed at finding myself at the very bottom of the school. The Marchioness smiled and replied, “It is a disappointment that will not hurt you. Trust me, you will be rather glad of it some day. But, Hugh, I am not at all surprised.”
“Did you think, then, I was such a dunce ?" I asked, a little mortified.
“No, my boy; I never thought you a dunce ; you are very far from a dunce, Hugh ; for, like your father, you have excellert capacities, and may learn almost anything you choose. But your education was quite of too desultory a character ; there was not sufficient method in your studies, and the general knowledge which you acquired from your private reading needed arrangement, to say the least of it. You knew a good many things hazily, not clearly; also—do not be vexed, my dear boy,—but I quickly perceived that you over-rated your own acquirements; you fancied that you knew much more than you really did. It was quite natural; it was not your fault; you were left too long to the solitary life of Eaglesmere, and it was not good for you living entirely with people whose involuntary ignorance led them to rank your superior knowledge infinitely beyond its deserts. All sorts of wealth are comparative, you must observe. Martin was a scholar compared with some of the unlettered dalesmen about him, you were far before Martin, Mr. Gibson was far before you, old-fashioned as his learning was, and the standard of scholarship at Stoketon is infinitely beyond that of Mr. Gibson. As regards intellectual attainment, Hugh, let it be a rule with you never to measure yourself with your inferiors or with your equals in learning. Little Phoebe, in travelling south, was astonished to find how large a place the world actually was; you are beginning to discover how much is required of a man, even of a boy, in these comprehensive days if he would take any place in the society to which he naturally belongs.”
“Ah! I remember when Martin told me that he could teach me