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come easy to the small boys, quietly secured the allowances in a lump when given out for distribution, and kept them. It was no use grumbling,--so many fewer tartlets and apples were: eaten and fives’-balls bought on that Saturday; and after locking-up, when the money would otherwise have been spent, consolation was carried to many a small boy, by the sound of the night fags shouting along the passages, “ Gentlemen sportsmen of the school-house, the lottery's going to be drawn in the hall.” It was pleasant to be called a gentleman sportsman-also to have a chance of drawing a favourite horse.
The hall was full of boys, and at the head of one of the long tables stood the sporting interest, with a hat before them, in which were the tickets folded up. One of them then began calling out the list of the house; each boy, as his name was called, drew a ticket from the hat and opened it; and most of the bigger boys, after drawing, left the hall directly to go back to their studies or the fifth-form room. The sporting interest had all drawn blanks, and they were sulky accordingly; neither of the favourites had yet been drawn, and it had come down to the upper-fourth. So now, as each small boy came up and drew his ticket, it was seized and opened by Flashman, or some other of the standers-by. But no great favourite is drawn until it comes to the Tadpole's turn, and he shuffles up and draws, and tries to make off, but is caught, and his ticket is opened like the rest.
TOM DRAWS THE FAVOURITE.
“ Here you are! Wanderer! the third favourite," shouts the opener.
“I say, just give me my ticket, please,” remonstrates Tadpole.
“ Hullo, don't be in a hurry,” breaks in Flashman, 66 what’ll you sell Wanderer for now?”
“ I don't want to sell,” rejoins Tadpole.
“Oh, don't you! Now listen, you young fool you don't know any thing about it; the horse is no use to you. He won't win, but I want him as a hedge. Now I'll give you half-a-crown for him." Tadpole holds out, but between threats and cajoleries at length sells half for one-shilling-and-sixpence, about a fifth of its fair market value; however, he is glad to realize any thing, and as he wisely remarks, 66 Wanderer mayn't win,” and the tizzy is safe any how.
East presently comes up and draws a blank. Soon after comes Tom's turn; his ticket, like the others, is seized and opened. “ Here you are then," shouts the opener, holding it up, “ Harkaway! By Jove, Flashey, your young friend's in luck.”
“ Give me the ticket," says Flashman with an oath, leaning across the table with open hand, and his face black with rage. .“ Wouldn't you like it?” replies the opener, not a bad fellow at the bottom, and no admirer of Flashman's. “ Here, Brown, catch hold,” and he hands the ticket to Tom, who pockets it; where- . upon Flashman makes for the door at once, that Tom and the ticket may not escape, and there
keeps watch until the drawing is over, and all the boys are gone, except the sporting set of five or six, who stay to compare books, make bets, and so on ; Tom, who doesn't choose to move while Flashman is at the door, and East, who stays by his friend, anticipating trouble.
The sporting set now gathered round Tom. Public opinion wouldn't allow them actually to rob him of his ticket; but any humbug or intimidation by which he could be driven to sell the whole or part at an undervalue was lawful.
“ Now, young Brown, come, what'll you sell me Harkaway for? I hear he isn't going to start. I'll give you five shillings for him,” begins the boy who had opened the ticket. Tom, remembering his good deed, and moreover in his forlorn state wishing to make a friend, is about to accept the offer, when another cries out, “ I'll give you seven shillings.” Tom hesitated, and looked from one to the other.
“ No, no!” said Flashman, pushing in, “ leave me to deal with him; we'll draw lots for it afterwards. Now, sir, you know me—you'll sell Harkaway to us for five shillings, or you'll repent it."
"I won't sell a bit of him," answered Tom, shortly.
6 You hear that now!” said Flashman, turning to the others. “ He's the coxiest young blackguard in the house-I always told you so. We're to have all the trouble and risk of getting up the lotteries for the benefit of such fellows as he.”
Flashman forgets to explain what risk they ran,
but he speaks to willing ears. Gambling makes boys selfish and cruel as well as men.
“ That's true,—we always draw blanks,” cries one. “ Now, sir, you shall sell half at any rate.”
“ I won't,” said Tom, flushing up to his hair, and lumping them all in his mind with his sworn enemy.
“ Very well then, let's roast him,” cried Flashman, and catches hold of Tom by the collar: one or two boys hesitate, but the rest join in. East seizes Tom's arm and tries to pull him away, but is knocked back by one of the boys, and Tom is dragged
along struggling. His shoulders are pushed against | the mantel-piece, and he is held by main force before
the fire, Flashman drawing his trousers tight by way of extra torture. Poor East, in more pain even than Tom, suddenly thinks of Diggs, and darts off to find him. “ Will you sell now for ten shil. lings?” says one boy who is relenting.
Tom only answers by groans and struggles. “ I say, Flashey, he has had enough,” says the same boy, dropping the arm he holds.
“ No, no, another turn'll do it,” answers Flashman. But poor Tom is done already, turns deadly pale, and his head falls forward on his breast, just as Diggs in frantic excitement rushes into the hall with East at his heels.
“ You cowardly brutes!” is all he can say, as he catches Tom from them and supports him to the hall table. " Good God! he's dying. Here, get some cold water-run for the housekeeper."
Flashman and one or two others slink away; the
rest ashamed and sorry bend over Tom or run for water, while East darts off for the housekeeper. Water comes, and they throw it on his hands and face, and he begins to come to. “ Mother!”-the words came feebly and slowly—“it's very cold tonight.” Poor old Diggs is blubbering like a child. “ Where am I?” goes on Tom, opening his eyes. “ Ah! I remember now," and he shut his eyes again and groaned.
" I say,” is whispered,“ we can't do any good, and the housekeeper will be here in a minute,” and all but one steal away; he stays with Diggs, silent and sorrowful, and fans Tom's face.
The housekeeper comes in with strong salts, and Tom soon recovers enough to sit up. There is a smell of burning; she examines his clothes, and looks up inquiringly. The boys are all silent.
“ How did he come so ?" No answer.
“ There's been some bad work here,” she adds, looking very serious, “and I shall speak to the Doctor about it." Still no answer.
“ Hadn't we better carry him to the sick-room?" suggests Diggs.
« Oh, I can walk now," says Tom, and supported by East and the housekeeper, goes to the sick-room. The boy who held his ground is soon amongst the rest, who are all in fear of their lives. “Did he peach?” “Does she know about it?”
“Not a word,—he's a staunch little fellow." And pausing a moment he adds, “ I'm sick of this work : what brutes we've been.”