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shares, as I have no doubt he will, it will suit my purpose well. I hope he will be steady now, and stick to work again. I'm afraid he has not been doing much good lately. I am sorry for his sister, as she seems to be dependent on him, and for his mother, too, at her age. Eighty-one or two she is, I know. She can't live long; I promised to let her occupy the house as long as she wants it, and I won't disturb her if I can help it; it won't be very long, I dare say. I hope Dean will take a good turn and be steady now. I do hope he will, I'm sure."
NE JOCO QUIDEM.
Pray you let us not be laughing-stocks to other men's humours.
his school experiences. Although his adventure with the brick was passed over without notice by the masters, the fame of it spread throughout the school, and created a great sensation. Boys from other houses stole up to the dormitory at forbidden hours to look down at the spot where he had made his perilous descent, and peeped through the head master's garden gate to look up at it. Howard rose at once to a high place in their estimation, and they began to inquire among themselves where he had come from, and by what means he had acquired such activity.
“ His father is a sailor,” said one.
"An East Indiaman is a ship, but Howard comes from India all the same."
"That will account for it. There are very big trees out there, and they can all climb trees in Africa."
" Africa, you gander!"
"Well, Asia, then. It's all the same as far as the climbing goes. There used to be a great tree in the Crystal Palace, which had been brought from one of those places abroad, a thousand feet high, or something like it. I dare say Howard could have swarmed up to the top of it."
So the boys entertained each other with mingled facts and fancies.
Tom was not fond of showing off, and did not seek notoriety, but he was required after this to climb ropes and spars in the gymnasium. He had been an adept at this in one of the London gymnasiums, having taken great delight in everything that reminded him of his experiences on board ship, and fancying himself again a sailor, as he went up and down the ropes and ladders. The monitors at Abbotscliff, who had the management of the athletic sports which were exhibited every year in public in the spring, looked upon Tom as a great acquisition, and resolved that he should go into training in due time, and carry off a prize or two for his activity and daring.
Who it was that put the brick into Chaffin's bed was never discovered. Little Martin had the credit of it, but denied it, and Tom believed him, though some others did not. The custom of “greening” new-comers was brought by these events under discussion; some of the boys maintaining that it was silly and childish; anybody could do it who had impudence enough, and who did not mind about telling lies; while others defended the practice, denying that there was any harm in it. It was only done for fun, and could not hurt anybody, they said.
" It sharpens a new fellow's wits," said one, “and makes him look about him.”
"There's no wit in it," said another, "so it can't put wit into
anybody else. 'Iron sharpeneth iron;' but a 'soft' can green another; look at Chaffin!”
Grown-up men do it," the former speaker replied. “ It's only like making April fools, or sending a simpleton to buy strap oil at a cobbler's.”
“Such customs are more honoured in the breach than the observance,” was the rejoinder. "In Scotland, a poor halfwitted fellow is sometimes sent about with a note, in which is written, 'Send the bearer further,' and each person to whom he delivers it acts upon the hint, so that he may go to a dozen places before he finds any one good-natured enough to tell him that he is a gowk: ‘hunting the gowk,' they call it, but, as an old rhyme says,
" 'Tis a thing to be disputed,
Or he who him designedly sent?” "Still, it's not fair to talk of it as if it were a crime,” said another of the boys. “I would not tell a lie for anything, but I do not see the harm of stuffing a goose or a gowk.”
"It is lying, though, call it what you will,” said Mr. Grantly, who happened to pass at that moment. “ You make me think of a sentence in the Life of Epaminondas, that you read the other day in class – Adeo erat veritatis diligens, ut ne joco quidem mentiretur.' He never would tell a lie, even in joke, because lie loved the truth. Those who love the truth will be careful of it.
I have begun to think more seriously about this 'greening' than I did. It is not only foolish but dangerous. Epaminondas reads us a good lesson-'ne joco quidem ;' that should apply to everything that is contrary to strict morality, "jesting which is not convenient,' as St. Paul calls it. A silly fellow presented a gun at his sister the other day, in joke, and shot her. He did not mean any harm. It is better not to trifle
with guns or falsehoods. 'Ne joco quidem ;' let that be the rule, boys; we shall be on the safe side then.”
From that time forward the words “ Ne joco quidem" became a proverb among the boys at Abbotscliff. Very often they were quoted without any relevancy. When, for instance, one asked another to lend him a shilling, “Ne joco quidem” would be the answer. But the lesson was not the less useful on that account. “Greening” became unfashionable, and those who helped to circulate a false report were looked upon as cads or blockheads. As for Howard, he was set down by all as a plucky little fellow, and was popular. But his chief friend was the young boy Martin-or Swallow, as he was invariably called. They became constant companions. To him Tom could speak of his mother on the seas, and of his father in India, while the younger boy would delight to talk, in his turn, of his home at Brakeley, and of the pleasant vicarage and parish in which his parents dwelt. The two boys would sit together upon the ruined tower near the schoolhouse, looking out over the sea and opening their hearts to one another without reserve. It was a famous place, that old tower, and Martin was not afraid to climb up into it in reliance upon his friend, though his head would swim if he looked downwards from the height, and he never could overcome a feeling of fascination, like that which is said to take possession of the bird when it flies down into the gaping jaws of a snake; and he used to say that unless Tom Howard held him tight he should be tempted to throw himself into the gulf of which he felt such terror. He had an idea, however, that if Tom went to sea he should like to do the same, and was resolved on that account to learn to climb ropes, and to overcome his giddiness; and if perseverance and resolution could accomplish it, it was likely he would succeed.
One morning they were sitting upon a part of the old wall, fifty feet or more above the ground, when a great stone, which