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ther Puggy invariably gave him when settled down into the ways of the place affairs were becoming desperate. Then before he was somehow or other sent Fatty, doubled up like a Punch doll, about his business ; generally, it was would fall, protesting, with his latest believed, through Mrs. Carter's instruand shortest breath, against foul play, mentality. whereat the ring would interfere. It was a tradition at old Carter's that Then, in consequence of a difference the second usher never stopped more of opinion having arisen between than one half: if he did, he'd stay two Puggy and one of the interposing years. When I first came, this post was bystanders, it became the younger occupied by a Mr. Daw, a little man brother's turn to have a fresh en- with a large head, who ate garlic pricounter on his hands, when he, after vately and smelt of it publicly. On some few feints and guards, invariablywet afternoons he used to sing to us succumbed, and spent the remainder of some rollicking songs with strangely his play-hours in tears and abuse of his worded choruses. Mrs. Carter came in brother. Fatty was never known to during one of these performances, and as speak well of Puggy, and Puggy never bis music did not possess charms suffihad a good word for his brother. Fatty cient to calm her savage breast, he would confide to the boys that there received notice and left. was no such sneak as Puggy, and Puggy To his professorial chair succeeded a would confidently assert that there never Mr. Venn. He was an unwholesomewas such a cowardly bully as that Fatty. looking man, whose complexion reYet their attachment to each other was, minded me of a frog's back. His strange to say, firm and sincere, and has restless eyes, peering out of deep recesses, 80 remained through life. In their moved quickly and suspiciously, as conflicts at school, hair-pulling came to though he were perpetually on the alert be considered quite as one of the fine for the appearance of somebody from arts, while throttling and kicking were some unexpected quarter. I remember managed with so great a dexterity, as, in in the story of the fisherman and the more sporting times, would have elevated genii how in the king's palace the wall their performance to the rank of a suddenly opened and a Moor stepped science. Blows were seldom exchanged, out, much to the consternation of the except the one already mentioned. No. fisherman. Had our second usher been body having authority ever interfered the fisherman, he would have been ready between them, except on two occasions for him and waiting. when I remember Mrs. Carter suddenly The way in which he would play with rushing in, having been at the keyhole the ruler seemed to suggest the defenfor some minutes previously, and seizing sive, and he always dived down behind them both by the hair, which she tugged the lid of his desk, and brought up his impartially until they yelled again, she head again to look right and left sharply, banged their heads together and took much after the manner of a thrush them off to be caned on the spot : and on a lawn, fearful of being surprised in a very sore spot it must have been for a his worming operations. In the place long time afterwards. This is the only of eyebrows he had two irritable-looking instance within my knowledge of a red lines, with stumps of hair dotted satisfactory issue of an uncalled-for about, as though they alone had been interference by a third party in the spared in a severe visitation of pumicequarrels of relations.
stone. His nose was trowel-shaped As for the ushers, the senior was that is, it fitted in a very broad and seldom with us in play-hours, having flat manner on to the cheeks, and tapered his own amusements and lodgings in away to not too fine a point. His mouth the country town of Bromfield, within was large ; but he generally kept it five minutes' walk of our school-house. shut, scarcely opening it to speak. Ho Our second usher, as a rule, had scarcely had no more smile on his face than has
a man, with a strong sense of humour, suffering from sea-sickness. Easy-going, lounging Mr. Crosbie, M.A., the senior, who affected a sporting costume, and kept two dogs of doubtful breed (which curled their tails downwards when interviewed by other dogs, and pretended never to see any cat that happened to be quite close to them), was afraid of him, and in his presence was on his best behaviour. Old Carter spoke of Mr. Venn as a gentleman with the highest recommendations from the most learned, reverend, and respectableauthorities. Hetrumpeted him before he arrived. After his arrival, old Carter saw less of the schoolroom than heret fore, and at dinner Mrs. Carter was far more civil to Mr. Venn than ever she had been to Mr. Crosbie. All the boys remarked the change, and wondered. Percival Floyd was soon on as friendly a footing as one ever could be with Mr. Venn; and Harker, being ignored, was left to Crosbie, who, it was whispered, knew Harker at home, and having actually stopped at Harker's mill, was, for reasons of his own, very lenient with his young friend over Horace and Homer.
One hot summer's day the boys were in the feld playing cricket-a game which I never could summon up sufficient nerve to play. So much danger and so much trouble for nothing, seemed to me to be associated with this amusement, that I and the only other boy who shared my feelings on the subject, Austin Comberwood, were accustomed to retire to a distant part of the field, where he would tell me the stories of Scott's novels, wherein, as was natural, I was mightily interested ; and were he compelled to leave off at a thrilling point of interest, I used to look forward with pleasure to the night-time, when, as we lay in our little room (we were the only two sleeping there), it would be “continued in our next” by him.
While he was recounting “Ivanhoe" to nie, Mr. Venn came up, and sent Austin with a message across the field. Then he turned to me, and, knitting the red marks which did duty for brows, asked
“How old are you, Colvin ?”
“Twelve last birthday, sir," I replied, for I was getting on by this time.
“Where's your father now?”.
“Always, I think," I replied with some hesitation, because it struck me as quite a new idea that my father should ever go out of town. Then ] added, by way of such an explanation as appeared to me necessary
“We live in London, sir.”
“You know Shrewsbury, don't you?" he asked.
I was never strong in English geography; and geography out of England would have at that time completely floored me. It occurred to me that Mr. Venn was taking a mean advantage of me out of school hours. However, I knew enough to reply confidently that Shrewsbury was the capital of Shropshire.
“Ah," he returned, “I don't mean that. Didn't you once live there ? "
It suddenly occurred to me that I might have been born there. I shouldn't have been sorry to prove this to my schoolfellows, as all the other boys had been born, they said, in the country; and they used to call me a cockney-a term I detested, implying, as it seemed to me, an ignorance of such matters as riding, hunting, shooting, and fishing, with which my companions, one and all, professed themselves familiar. Their derision was all the more galling on account of its being caused by what was simply the truth, and nothing but the . truth. I knew no more of fishing, or indeed of any field sports, than I did of astronomy; and, as may be imagined, I was not much of a Newton at this period of my life. Not that I wish to infer that I have since attained any eminence in the science of the stars. No: such high flights I have left to Dædalian individuals. For myself, I am content to leave the solar system alone. It has worked remarkably well for some considerable time without any interference on my part, and I am not
ambitious of being a Phaëthon, and importance. I could not, had I been getting the calendar into a muddle. then asked, have put the reason into I will accept alterations peaceably, but words, but I suppose that my personal will not originate them. Make old May- vanity was flattered by having received day in December, and put Christmas-day a sort of apology from an authority so in July, I shall not complain, but will formidable as Mr. Venn. celebrate the one with port and filberts, Being in this humour, I was quite and the other with iced plum-pudding willing to talk about myself and domestic and cold mince-pies.
matters. He smiled when, becoming However, to come back to Shrews confidential, I described Mr. Verney ; bury, whence we started. The notion and I thought he really must have known of its having been my birth-place, with him, but he said that he did not; and its logical train of consequences, com- he appeared considerably interested when mencing with the certainty that I I, wishing to impress upon him clearly could no longer be upbraided with the marked distinction between my Aunt cockneyism—this notion, I say, seemed Clym and my Aunt Susan, was forced to me so brilliant, that I couldn't help to point out, as something to be resuggesting to Mr. Venn that it was not membered, that Aunt Susan was my impossible that I might have been born mother's sister, and my Grandmanıma there.
Pritchard was my mother's mamma. "A'm,” he said presently, after a “Pritchard ?” he asked, in a tone pause, “you don't take after your that implied a doubt of my veracity. mother."
I assured him that it was so, and he I had always been told I was very seemed as puzzled as Fatty Bifford when like her, and I said so, adding, “I'm thinking of the answer to a question in not like my father, sir”-of which dis- Proportion. Then he saidtinction I was not a little proud ; because, “Have you ever heard the name of to my imagination, my mother had been Wingrove ? " the loveliest creature ever seen.
I had some idea that he was laughing He seemed to consider the proposi- at me, but I saw by his face and manner tion as one deserving his best attention that he was quite serious. I seemed to Presently he inquired
have heard the name of Wingrove, but "She does not coine down to see you somehow, if at all, in connection with here ?"
the Verneys. The longer I thought, The question was so extraordinary, the more sure I became that I never that I stared up at him with all my had heard it before. might. Come down bere to visit me, I “ Then," he said, with his peculiarly thought; and wished that it could be so, ill-favoured smile, “then, when you see that I might see and love her. He had your father, ask him if he knows the unwittingly struck a chord in my heart name of Wingrove ;" and as we looked of iofinite sweet melody. My mother at one another I laughed timidly, not seemed to me tou sacred for him to being quite sure whether it was said in mention; and as the tears welled up, joke or earnest, and being uncertain as and the green fields and landscape to how he might take it if I were became obscured by the mist that filled wrong. my eyes, I replied
But he patted me on the back and "She is dead, sir.”
laughed in turn, as the wolf might have "Dead," he repeated, softly, as if laughed, when he was so tickled with the much shocked; “I did not know this, idea of the practical joke he was going to or I should not have mentioned the play on Little Red Riding Hood; and subject.”
then as Austin Comberwood returned, The excuse sounded awkward, but Mr. Venn walked away. I asked Austin kindly, and at that moment, in spite of about Wingrove, and he didn't know, my grief, I felt myself of considerable and, moreover, didn't think it was in
any of Sir Walter Scott's novels (which ceased to be Venn's favourite, in fact, as put the matter in a new light to me), I had long before ceased to be in name. unless it might be, he surmised, in one of As the circumstances which, I have since the books that he hadn't yet read. This learnt, occasioned this change of deled to a discussion as to the number of meanonr have shown themselves to have books he had read ; and just as he was been fraught with consequences of the commencing where he had left off, about deepest importance, not only to myself the Black Knight (who he was going but to others, I must not now pass lightly to be I couldn't make out), we were over certain events which, trivial as they summoned into school.
then seemed, did most undoubtedly I thought of Wingrove and the con- mark an epoch in the history of my time. versation with Mr. Venn, once or twice afterwards, but it very soon ceased to interest me-having no chance against
CHAPTER VII. Ivanhoe, as narrated in the dark, at bed.
WORKING ROUND — OTHER IMPORTANT time, by Comberwood-until, later on, a
PERSONAGES ON THE SCENE—AN ILL slight incident recalled it to my memory.
WIND, AND SOME CONSEQUENCES. Mr. Venn's conduct towards me from this time forth was distinguished by so ABOUT this time, my father, at the many marks of kindness (he once actu- recommendation of his greatest friend ally rescued me from old Mother Carter's and constant adviser, Mr. James hands, by moral not physical force) that Cavander, and in opposition to all this portion of my time at this school that could be urged against the scheme was, on the whole, very happily spent. by Aunt Clym-on all occasions CavanIt is true I was dubbed “Venn's Fa- der's warm opponent-took and furvourite," but the boys soon dropped nished a house in that district of this when they discovered that, on the Kensington which a Museum and a love-me-love-my-dog principle, to be the National Portrait Gallery have since friend of Cæsar's friend was to be the combined to render famous. Business friend of Cæsar. The Biffords were the in the city-whatever that might mean sole exception to this rule. They were had been good ; "things " also in the too deeply engaged in their own domestic city had been for some time “looking broils to trouble themselves with the up," and had enabled my father to puraffairs of the outer world. They left chase the long lease of a residence which during my third half, and fought not only the auctioneer's advertisement described up to the last minute, but on the very as both eligible and desirable. Mr. steps of the fly which was to convey them Cavander was probably correct in sugto the station. The last that was here gesting it as a good investment. For seen of them (from Carter's dining-room, my part I know very little more about and looking through the fly window) such matters now than I did then; was Fatty Bifford with both his hands practical experience alone can endow tugging at and twisting Puggy's hair, me with such wisdom as is necessary for freshly oiled for going home; while the matters which are, like the prices of latter had got hold of his brother's new Belgravian palaces, too high for me, necktie, and was trying to strangle him and as yet that is up to the present before they should reach the station. As time of writing—I have not been able we soon after received news of them from to purchase another house on a similar Holyshade College, whither they had site. both preceded me, though the majority But this Mr. James Cavander of Carter's boys used to go to Harton could I write this history and omit all School, we had the gratification of know- mention of him, I would. Could I show ing that their latest squabble had not my love for my enemies by observing ended fatally.
silence about them, I would. But it is During my last two school-times I as impossible to keep James Cavander
out of this veracious narrative, as it was not to the man's taste, as requiring would be to ignore the devil in the sudden violence. history of Christianity.
He would have preferred treating For you, my friends, who honour Leviathan as a trout, and bag him by our family by perusing this addition tickling. If you were of no use to to its past history, I have no disguise, him, he forgot you, and it would be no trick; I tell you that at this fair to say of him generally that he particular point I introduce my arch- only remembered you for your own disvillain, so that you may sympathise advantage. Thus, he could forget what with me when I, as a boy, first saw him, was not worth his while to remember, and intuitively disliked him. Let us but he never troubled himself to forgive. be in jackets and turn-down collars Do I suppose, looking back at this again, and let us dislike him together, man, that when by himself he professed for the plain and simple reason that we undying hatred of any human being ? do dislike, and can't tell why. My in- Undoubtedly not: I firmly believe that stinct was right, I can say so now : and he considered himself no worse than for the correctness of first instincts, I those among whom he moved, and far will back children and women against better than many whom he heard paall others. It was on returning to Old rading their charitable sentiments. He Carter's that I first encountered Mr. despised both Pharisee and publican, as Cavander, and felt as kindly disposed canting hypocrites. And, to do him justowards him as I have above intimated. tice, he neither professed too much with He was, so far, my Doctor Fell : the the one, nor abased himself abjectly with reason why I could not tell ; but this I the other. I have seen his name attached knew, in less than two minutes, and to many a subscription for a good and knew full well, that I did not, and never pious purpose, and I have heard of his could, like Mr. James Cavander.
kind acts in gifts of money to certain Undoubtedly a handsome man, with poor people who had proved themselves the darkest hair, whiskers, and eyebrows to be deserving objects of charity. I had as yet seen; and I do not think People mostly spoke of him as “a I have since met his equal in this clever fellow," but at the same time respect.
they shook their heads knowingly, imHis eyes were, so to speak, his face; plying thereby that there are more ways for you got at them and they at you first than one of being clever, and that on and foremost. They faced you out, the whole they'd rather not be called steadfastly. They bothered you like upon to explain precisely their meaning. the light of a dark lantern. These Such remarks as these my father used eyes further gave you the idea of their to take as complimentary to his own being the spies set at the windows sagacity, for in the city he and Cavander to seize on all that might furnish appeared to be inseparable. While I material for the brain within, whose had been growing, Cavander had been machinery was hard at work all day, and becoming a necessary part of my father's far into the night, until the watchers business. My shoes were too small for should succumb to drowsiness, and the him at present, but he had taken my busy thoughts should hie to their play. measure for my boots of the future, ground in the land of dreams.
which, made for me, he intended to Cavander took you in as raw material wear himself. Somehow I had never through his eyes, and turning you met this gentleman at home. He said over and over, and round and round, he perfectly remembered me as quiteeasily and pleasantly produced you a child, and I've no doubt but that in the form best adapted to his pur- he was right. Perhaps his holidays pose. Cavander's mental steam hammer coincided with mine, and so when he could brush the dust off a fly's wing went away I arrived. Be this as it without disturbing it, or could crush may, we met face to face when I was I boulder of granite. This latter effort between eleven and twelve, and since