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388

HOW THEY GOT IN.

front windows open, to frighten the truants on their return; and then the two set about foraging for tea, in which operation the master was much at fault, having the faintest possible idea of where to find anything, and being moreover wondrously shortsighted; but Tom by a sort of instinct knew the right cupboards in the kitchen and pantry, and soon managed to place on the snuggery table better materials for a meal than had appeared there probably during the reign of his tutor, who was then and there initiated, amongst other things, into the excellence of that mysterious condiment, a dripping cake. The cake was newly baked, and all rich and flaky; Tom had found it reposing in the cook's private cupboard, awaiting her return; and as a warning to her they finished it to the last crumb. The kettle sang away merrily on the hob of the snuggery, for, notwithstanding the time of year, they lighted a fire, throwing both the windows wide open at the same time; the heap of books and papers were pushed away to the other end of the table, and the great solitary engraving of King's College Chapel over the mantel-piece looked less stiff than usual, as they settled themselves down in the twilight to the serious drinking of tea.

After some talk on the match, and other indifferent subjects, the conversation came naturally back to Tom's approaching departure, over which he began again to make his moan.

“ Well, we shall all miss you quite as much as you will miss us," said the master. 66 You are the Nestor of the school now, are you not?

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6 Yes, ever since East left," answered Tom. “ By-the-bye, have you heard from him?"

“ Yes, I had a letter in February, just before he started for India to join his regiment.” “ He will make a capital officer.”

Aye, won't he!” said Tom, brightening; “no fellow could handle boys better, and I suppose soldiers are very like boys. And he'll never tell them to go where he won't go himself. No mistake about that a braver fellow never walked.”

“ His year in the sixth will have taught him a good deal that will be useful to him now.”

“ So it will," said Tom, staring into the fire. Poor dear Harry," he went on, “how well I remember the day we were put out of the twenty. How he rose to the situation, and burnt his cigarcases, and gave away his pistols, and pondered on the constitutional authority of the sixth, and his new duties to the Doctor, and the fifth-form, and the fags. Aye, and no fellow ever acted up to them better, though he was always a people's man for the fags, and against constituted authorities. He couldn't help that, you know. I'm sure the Doctor must have liked him?" said Tom, looking up inquiringly. 6. The Doctor sees the good in every one,

and

appreciates it,” said the master, dogmatically, “but 1 hope East will get a good colonel. He won't do if he can't respect those above him. How long it took him, even here, to learn the lesson of obeying."

« Well, I wish I were alongside of him," said Tom. “ If I can't be at Rugby, I want to be at work

390

WORK IN THE WORLD.

in the world, and not dawdling away toree years at Oxford."

“ What do you mean by 'at work in the world ?'" said the master, pausing, with his lips close to his saucer-full of tea, and peering at Tom over it.

“ Well, I mean real work; one's profession; whatever one will have really to do, and make one's living by. I want to be doing some real good, feeling that I am not only at play in the world," answered Tom, rather puzzled to find out himself what he really did

mean.

“ You are mixing up two very different things in your head, I think, Brown," said the master, putting down his empty saucer, “and you ought to get clear about them. You talk of working to get your living,' and doing some real good in the world,' in the sarne breath Now you may be getting a very good living in a profession, and yet doing no good at all in the world, but quite the contrary, at the same time. Keep the latter before you as your one object, and you will be right, whether you make a living or not; but if you dwell on the other, you'll very likely drop into mere money-making, and let the world take care of itself for good or evil. Don't be in a hurry about finding your work in the world for yourself; you are not old enough to judge for yourself yet, but just look about you in the place you find yourself in, and try to make things a little better and honester there. You'll find plenty to keep your hand in at Oxford, or wherever else you go. And don't be led away to think this part of the world important, and that unimportant. Every

WORK IN THE WORLD.

391

corner of the world is important. No man knows whether this part or that is most so, but every man may do some honest work in his own corner.”' And then the good man went on to talk wisely to Tom of the sort of work which he might take up as an undergraduate; and warned him of the prevalent University sins, and explained to him the many and great differences between University and school life; till the twilight changed into darkness, and they heard the truant servants stealing in by the back entrance.

“ I wonder where Arthur can be," said Tom at last, looking at his watch; “ why, it's nearly half-past nine already."

“Oh, he is comfortably at supper with the eleven, forgetful of his oldest friends," said the master.

Nothing has given me greater pleasure,” he went on, “than your friendship for him, it has been the making of you both."

“ Of me, at any rate," answered Tom; “I should never have been here now but for him. It was the luckiest chance in the world that sent him to Rugby, and made him my chum."

" Why do you talk of lucky chances ?" said the master; “I don't know that there are any such things in the world ; at any rate there was neither luck nor chance in that matter."

Tom looked at him inquiringly, and he went on. “Do you remember when the Doctor lectured you and East at the end of one half-year, when you were in the shell, and had been getting into all sorts of scrapes?"

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THE DOCTOR'S WORK.

“ Yes, well enough;" said Tom," it was the half year before Arthur came."

Exactly so," answered the master. « Now I was with him a few minutes afterwards, and he was in great distress about you two. And, after some talk, we both agreed that you in particular wanted some object in the school beyond games and rischief, for it was quite clear that you never would make the regular school work your first object. And so the Doctor at the beginning of the next half-year, looked out the best of the new boys and separated you and East, and put the young boy into your study, in the hope that when you had somebody to lean on you, you would begin to stand a little steadier yourself, and get manliness and thoughtfulness. And I can assure you

he has watched the experiment ever since with great satisfaction. Ah! not one of you boys will ever know the anxiety you have given him, or the care with which he has watched over every step in your school lives.”

Up to this time Tom had never wholly given in to, or understood the Doctor. At first he had thoroughly feared him. For some years, as I have tried to show, he had learnt to regard him with love and respect, and to think him a very great and wise and good man. But, as regarded his own position in the school, of which he was no little proud, Tom had no idea of giving any one credit for it but himself; and, truth to tell, was a very self-conceited young gentleman on the subject. He was wont to boast that he had fought his own way fairly up the

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