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feeling for the article in question; which he found on his head sure enough, and left there, to his mother's horror and Tom's great delight.
Then there was poor Jacob Dobson, the halfwitted boy, who ambled about cheerfully, undertaking messages and little helpful odds and ends for every one, which however poor Jacob managed always hopelessly to embrangle. Every thing came to pieces in his hands, and nothing would stop in his head. They nicknamed him Jacob Doodle-calf.
But, above all, there was Harry Winburn, the quickest and best boy in the parish. He might be a year older than Tom, but was very little bigger, and he was the Crichton of our village boys. He could wrestle, and climb, and run, better than all the rest, and learned all that the schoolmaster could teach him faster than that worthy at all liked. He was a boy to be proud of, with his curly brown hair, keen gray eye, straight active figure, and little ears and hands and feet, “as fine as a lord's," as Charity remarked to Tom one day, talking as usual great nonsense. Lord's hands and ears and feet are just as ugly as other folks when they are children, as any one may convince themselves if they like to look. Tight boots and gloves, and doing nothing with them, I allow, make a difference by the time they are twenty.
Now that Benjy was laid on the shelf, and his young brothers were still under petticoat government, Tom, in search of companions, began to cultivate the village boys generally more and more.
TORYISM OF SQUIRE BROWN.
Squire Brown, be it said, was a true-blue Tory to the backbone, and believed honestly that the pow. ers which be were ordained of God, and that loyalty and steadfast obedience were men's first duties. Whether it were in consequence or in spite of his political creed, I do not mean to give an opinion, though I have one; but certain it is, that he held therewith divers social principles not generally supposed to be true-blue in color. Foremost of these, and the one which the Squire loved to propound above all others, was the belief that a man is to be valued wholly and solely for that which he is in himself, for that which stands up in the four fleshly } walls of him, apart from clothes, rank, fortune, and all externals whatsoever. Which belief I take to be a wholesome corrective of all political opinions, and, if held sincerely, to make all opinions equally harmless, whether they be blue, red, or green. As a necessary corollary to this belief, Squire Brown held further, that it didn't matter a straw whether his son associated with lords’ sons or ploughmen's sons, provided they were brave and honest. He himself had played football and gone birds’-nesting with the farmers whom he met at vestry and the labourers who tilled their fields, and so had his father and grandfather with their progenitors. So he encouraged Tom in his intimacy with the boys of the village, and forwarded it by all means in his power, and gave them the run of a close for a playground, and provided bats and balls and a football for their sports.
TOM'S WATCH-TOWER BY THE SCHOOL. .
Our village was blessed, amongst other things, with a well-endowed school. The building stood by itself, apart from the master's house, on an angle of ground where three roads met; an old gray stone building with a steep roof and mullioned windows. On one of the opposite angles stood Squire Brown's stables and kennel with their backs to the road, over which towered a great elm tree; on the third stood the village carpenter and wheelwright's large open shop, and his house and the schoolmaster's, with long low eaves under which the swallows built by scores.
The moment Tom's lessons were over, he would now get him down to this corner by the stables, and watch till the boys came out of school. He prevailed on the groom to cut notches for him in the bark of the elm, so that he could climb into the lower branches, and there he would sit watching the school door, and speculating on the possibility of turning the elm into a dwelling-place for himself and friends after the manner of the Swiss family Robinson. But the school hours were long, and Tom's patience short, so that soon he began to descend into the street, and go and peep in at the school door and the wheelwright's shop, and look out for something to while away the time. Now the wheelwright was a choleric man, and one fine afternoon, returning from a short absence, found Tom occupied with one of his pet adzes, the edge of which was fast vanishing under our hero's care. A speedy flight saved Tom from all but one sound
• TOM'S FOES—THE WHEELWRIGHT, ETC. 59 cuff on the ears, but he resented this unjustifiable interruption of his first essays at carpentering, and still more the further proceedings of the wheelwright, who cut a switch and hung it over the door of his workshop, threatening to use it upon Tom if he came within twenty yards of his gate. So Tom, to retaliate, commenced a war upon the swallows who dwelt under the wheelwright's eaves, whom he harassed with sticks and stones, and being fleeter of foot than his enemy, escaped all punishment, and kept him in perpetual anger. Moreover, his presence about the school door began to incense the master, as the boys in that neighbourhood neglected! their lessons in consequence; and more than once he issued into the porch, rod in hand, just as Tom beat a hasty retreat. And he and the wheelwright laying their heads together, resolved to acquaint the Squire with Tom's afternoon occupations; but in order to do it with effect, determined to take him captive and lead him away to judgment fresh from his evil doings. This they would have found some difficulty in doing, had Tom continued the war single-handed, or rather single-footed, for he would have taken to the deepest part of Pebbly Brook to escape them; but like other active powers, he was ruined by his alliances. Poor Jacob Doodle-calf could not go to school with the other boys, and one fine afternoon, about three o'clock (the school broke up at four,) Tom found him ambling about the street, and pressed him into a visit to the school porch. Jacob, always ready to do what he was
PERILS OF ALLIANCE.
asked, consented, and the two stole down to the school together. Tom first reconnoitred the wheelwright's shop, and seeing no signs of activity, thought all safe in that quarter, and ordered at once an advance of all his troops upon the school porch. The door of the school was ajar, and the boys seated on the nearest bench at once recognized and opened a correspondence with the invaders. Tom waxing bold, kept putting his head into the school and making faces at the master when his back was turned. Poor Jacob, not in the least comprehending the situation, and in high glee at finding himself so near the school, which he had never been allowed to enter, suddenly, in a fit of enthusiasm, pushed by Tom, and ambling three steps into the school, stood there looking round him and nodding with a self-approving smile. The master, who was stooping over a boy's slate with his back to the door, became aware of something unusual, and turned quickly round. Tom rushed at Jacob, and began dragging him back by his smock-frock, and the master made at them, scattering forms and boys in his career. Even now they might have escaped, but that in the porch, barring retreat, appeared the crafty wheelwright, who had been watching all their proceedings. So they were seized, the school dismissed, and Tom and Jacob led away to Squire Brown as lawful prize, the boys following to the gate in groups, and speculating on the result.
The Squire was very angry at first, but the