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A FINANCIER'S TROUBLES.
pean-player hired for the occasion, blowing away “ A southerly wind and a cloudy sky," waking all peaceful inhabitants half-way down the High street.
Every minute the bustle and hubbub increased, porters staggered about with boxes and bags, the cornopean played louder. Old Thomas sat in his den with a great yellow bag by his side, out of which he was paying journey-money to each boy, comparing by the light of a solitary dip, the dirty crabbed little list in his own handwriting with the Doctor's list and the amount of his cash; his head was on one side, his mouth screwed up, and his spectacles dim from early toil. He had prudently locked the door and carried on his operations solely through the window, or he would have been driven wild and lost all his money.
“ Thomas, do be quick, we shall never catch the Highflyer at Dunchurch.”
6. That's your money, all right, Green."
“ Hullo, Thomas, the Doctor said I was to have two-pound-ten; you've only given me two pound.” I fear that Master Green is not confining himself strictly to truth. Thomas turns his head more on one side than ever, and spells away at the dirty list. Green is forced away from the window.
“ Here, Thomas, never mind him, mine's thirty shillings.” “ And mine too,” “ and mine," shouted others.
One way or another, the party to which Tom belonged all got packed and paid, and sallied out to the gates, the cornopean playing frantically
" Drops of brandy," in allusion probably to the slight potations in which the musician and postboys had been already indulging. All luggage was carefully stowed away inside the coach and in the front and hind boots, so that not a hatbox was visible outside. Five or six small boys with peashooters, and the cornopean player got up behind; in front the big boys, mostly smoking, not for pleasure, but because they are now gentlemen at large,—and this is the most correct public method of notifying the fact.
6 Robinson's coach will be down the road in a minute, it has gone up to Bird's to pick up, we'll wait till they're close and make a race of it,” says the leader. “ Now, boys, half-a-sovereign apiece if you beat'em into Dunchurch by one hundred yards." “ All right, sir,” shout the grinning post-boys.
Down comes Robinson's coach in a minute or two, with a rival cornopean, and away go the two vehicles, horses galloping, boys cheering, horns playing loud. There is a special Providence over schoolboys as well as sailors, or they must have upset twenty times in the first five miles; sometimes actually abreast of one another, and the boys on the roofs exchanging volleys of peas, now nearly running over a post-chaise which had started before them, now half-way up a bank, now with a wheeland-a-half over a yawning ditch; and all this in a dark morning, with nothing but their own lamps to guide them. However, it's all over at last, and they have run over nothing but an old pig in
· DULCE DOMUN. Southam street, the last peas are distributed in the Corn Market at Oxford, where they arrive between eleven and twelve, and sit down to a sumptuous breakfast at the Angel, which they are made to pay for accordingly. Here the party breaks up, all going now different ways, and Tom orders out a chaise and pair as grand as a lord, tho' he has scarcely five shillings left in his pocket, and more than twenty miles to get home.
6 Where to, sir?”
• Red Lion, Farringdon," says Tom, giving hostler a shilling.
“ All right, sir. Red Lion, Jem,” to the post-boy, and Tom rattles away towards home. At Farringdon, being known to the innkeeper, he gets that worthy to pay for the Oxford horses, and forward him in another chaise at once; and so the gorgeous young gentleman arrives at the paternal mansion, and Squire Brown looks rather blue at having to pay two-pound ten shillings for the posting expenses from Oxford. But the boy's intense joy at getting home, and the wonderful health he is in, and the good character he brings, and the brave stories he tells of Rugby, its doings and delights, soon mollify the Squire, and three happier people didn't sit down to dinner that day in England, (it is the boy's first dinner at six o'clock at home, great promotion already,) than the Squire and his wife, and Tom Brown, at the end of his first half-year at Rugby.
THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.
“ They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
LOWELL, Stanzas on Freedom.
The lower-fourth form in which Tom found himself at the beginning of the next half-year, was the largest form in the lower school, and numbered upwards of forty boys. Young gentlemen of all ages, from nine to fifteen, were to be found there, who expended such part of their energies as was devoted to Latin and Greek, upon a book of Livy, the Bucolics of Virgil, and the Hecuba of Euripides, which were ground out in small daily portions. The driving of this unlucky lower-fourth must have been grievous work to the unfortunate master, for it was the most unhappily constituted of any in the school. Here stuck the great stupid boys, who for the life of them could never master the accidence; the objects alternately of mirth and terror to the youngsters, who were daily taking them up, and laughing at them in lesson, and getting kicked by them for so doing in play-hours. There were no
less than three unhappy fellows in tail coats, with incipient down on their chins, whom the Doctor and the master of the form were always endeavouring to hoist into the upper school, but whose parsing and construing resisted the most well-meant shoves.
Then came the mass of the form, boys of eleven ; and twelve, the most mischievous and reckless age
of British youth, of whom East and Tom Brown were fair specimens. As full of tricks as monkeys, and of excuses as Irish women, making fun of their master, one another, and their lessons, Argus himself would have been puzzled to keep an eye on them; and as for making them steady or serious for half an hour together it was simply hopeless. The remainder of the form consisted of young prodigies of nine and ten, who were going up the school at the rate of a form a half-year, all boys' hands and wits being against them in their progress. It would have been one man's work to see that the precocious youngsters had fair play; and as the master had a good deal besides to do, they hadn't, and were for ever being shoved down three or four places, their verses stolen, their books inked, their jackets whitened, and their lives otherwise made a burden to them.
The lower-fourth, and all the forms below it, were heard in the great school, and were not trusted to prepare their lessons before coming in, but were whipped into school three-quarters of an hour before the lesson began by their respective masters, and there scattered about on the benches, with dictionary and grammar, hammered out their twenty lines