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allusions to what their fate will be, as they walk off.
But the Doctor, after hearing their story, doesn't make much of it, and only gives them thirty lines of Homer to learn by heart, and a lecture on the likelihood of such exploits ending in broken bones.
Alas, almost the next day was one of the great fairs in the town; and as several rows and other disagreeable accidents had of late taken place on these occasions, the Doctor gives out, after prayers in the morning, that no boy is to go down into the town. Wherefore East and Tom, for no earthly pleasure except that of doing what they are told not to do, start away after second lesson, and making a short circuit through the fields, strike a back lane which leads into the town, go down it, and run plump upon one of the masters as they emerge into the High street. The master in question, though a very clever, is not a righteous man; he has already caught several of his own pupils, and gives them lines to learn, while he sends East and Tom, who are not his pupils, up to the Doctor; who, on learning that they had been at prayers in the morning, flogs them soundly.
The flogging did them no good at the time, for the injustice of their captor was rankling in their minds; but it was just the end of the half, and on the next evening but one Thomas knocks at their door, and says the Doctor wants to see them. They look at one another in silent dismay. What can it be now? Which of their countless wrong-doings
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can he have heard of officially? However, it's no use delaying, so up they go to the study. There they find the Doctor, not angry, but very grave. • He has sent for them to speak very seriously before they go home. They have each been flogged several times in the half year for direct and wilful breaches of rules. This cannot go on. They are doing no good to themselves or others, and now they are getting up in the school, and have influence. They seem to think that rules are made capriciously, and for the pleasure of the masters; but this is not so, they are made for the good of the whole school, and must and shall be obeyed. Those who thoughtlessly or wilfully break them will not be allowed to stay at the school. He should be sorry if they had to leave, as the school might do them both much good, and wishes them to think very seriously in the holidays over what he has said. Good night.'
And so the two hurry off horribly scared ; the idea of having to leave has never crossed their minds, and is quite unbearable.
As they go out they meet at the door old Holmes, a sturdy cheery præpostor of another house, who goes in to the Doctor; and they hear his genial hearty greeting of the new-comer, so different to their own reception, as the door closes, and return to their study with heavy hearts, and tremendous resolves to break no more rules.
Five minutes afterwards the master of their form, a late arrival and a model young master, knocks at 228
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the Doctor's study door. • Come in!” and as he enters the Doctor goes on to Holmes" you see I do not know any thing of the case officially, and if I take any notice of it at all, I must publicly expel the boy. I don't wish to do that, for I think there is some good in him. There's nothing for it but a good sound thrashing.” He paused to shake hands with the master, which Holmes does also, and then prepares to leave.
“ I understand. Good night, sir.”
"Good night, Holmes. And remember," added the Doctor, emphasizing the words, “ a good sound thrashing before the whole house."
The door closed on Holmes, and the Doctor, in answer to the puzzled look of his lieutenant, explained shortly. “A gross case of bullying. Wharton, the head of the house, is a very good fellow, but slight and weak, and severe physical pain is the only way to deal with such a case; so I have asked Holmes to take it up. He is very careful and trustworthy, and has plenty of strength. I wish all the sixth had as much. We must have it here, if we are to keep order at all.”
Now I don't want any wiseacres to read this book; but if they should, of course they will prick up their long ears, and howl, or rather bray, at the above story. Very good, I don't object; but what I have to add for you boys is this, that Holmes called a levy of his house after breakfast next morning, made them a speech on the case of bullying in question, and then gave the bully a “good sound THE DOCTOR REIGNING.
thrashing ;” and that years afterwards, that boy sought out Holmes, and thanked him, saying it had been the kindest act which had ever been done upon him, and the turning point in his character; and a very good fellow he became, and a credit to his school.
After some other talk between them, the Doctor said, “ I want to speak to you about two boys in your form, East and Brown; I have just been speaking to them. What do you think of them ?”
“ Well, they are not hard workers, and very thoughtless, and full of spirits—but I can't help liking them, I think they are sound good fellows at the bottom."
I'm glad of it. I think so too. But they make me very uneasy. They are taking the lead a good deal amongst the fags in my house, for they are very active bold fellows. I should be sorry to lose them, but I shan't let them stay if I don't see them gaining character and manliness. In another year they may do great harm to all the younger boys."
Oh, I hope you won't send them away,” pleaded their master.
6 Not if I can help it. But now I never feel sure, after any half-holiday, that I shan't have to flog one of them next morning for some foolish thoughtless scrape. I quite dread seeing either of them.”
They were both silent for a minute. Presently the Doctor began again :
“ They don't feel that they have any duty or work
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to do in the school, and how is one to make them feel it?"
" I think if either of them had some little boy to take care of, it would steady them. Brown is the most reckless of the two, I should say; East wouldn't get into so many scrapes without him."
“ Well,” said the Doctor, with something like a sigh, “ I'll think of it.” And they went on to talk of other subjects.