"Well, I expect he will make a goodish score off it," said Cooper. "I wasn't thinking so much of the match with Norton, as that with Hooper. Hope beat him quite fairly, and Hooper is a very good player; one of our first-rates, to say the least."


'Hooper can bowl very well, but his batting is not so good," said Thursfield; and, besides, his hitting is almost all behind the wicket. It is taking him on his weakest point, and Hope on his strongest, to set them to play a single-wicket match. Hope's best hits are straight forward ones."

"Yes, and there goes one of them!" exclaimed Story, as the ball was seen flying almost to the verge of the Lime Walk. "He'll make two for that. Ha! and there is another," he added, a few minutes afterwards, 'just in the same place. A few in that style will soon settle this matter."


"But what do you say to that style?" cried Dodson, as the next ball, shooting past Hope's bat, twisted itself into the off stump. "There is an end to your pet's innings any way. Brook isn't done yet; he is only two or three behind, if I don't mistake. Halloa! how does the game stand, Hayward?" he shouted across to the boy who was seated in the scorer's place.

"Brook, four; Hope, seven," shouted Hayward in


"Sit down, Jack.

Brook is just going to begin his second innings, and we'll back him up with a round or two of applause. That's the kind of thing to raise a

fellow's pluck."

"With all my heart," said Norton, seating himself. "Well hit," he added presently, as a run was scored. 'That is five, at all events."


"Well hit, Brook! There is another! he must be one or two ahead of Hope now."

"Yes, that's seven runs he has scored this innings," said Dodson.

"Halloa! there go Brook's stumps-which is by no means the right thing, though!"

'No, I am afraid not," said Norton.

has Hope to get, Hayward?"

"Five," returned the boy addressed.

"How many

"Brook got,

first innings, four; second innings, eight. Hope, first innings, seven. Total, five to tie, six to win."

"Well, it is quite even betting now, said Norton. "A single twister of Brook's may determine the day in his favour."

Both the players were evidently impressed with the same notion. When Hope's second innings commenced, the caution hitherto observed by both parties seemed to be doubled; and a long time elapsed with very little advantage to either party. But, in spite of all Brook's exertions, he could not prevent his opponent's score slowly increasing, until he was but two runs-until he was but one run, behind him,—until the scores were equal. Even then the scales of victory appeared to be evenly poised. Hope struck a ball, not with his usual skill; it flew up into the air, and Brook rushed to catch it, if possible, before it reached the ground. He was just a moment too late, and the speed with which he had run threw him off his balance, and he fell on his knee. Before he could recover his legs, Hope had regained his wicket, and the victory was determined in his favour.

More applause followed than might have been expected; and the senior boys, though they had been anxious for Brook's success, did not wish to show any want of cordiality towards Hope. On his appearance, therefore, at the pavilion to receive the purse from Blenkinsopp, he was greeted with very general congratulation.

"I wish you joy, Hope," said Cooper. "You did that well, and I have no doubt Hammond will be pleased, when he hears what capital play there was for his prize.

Well now, Blenkinsopp, I suppose there remains nothing but to hand over, as they say—is there?"

"Nothing that I know of," said Blenkinsopp, taking the purse from his pocket, "unless some one is prepared to challenge Hope to a fresh encounter which I suppose is not very likely. Oyez, oyez, oyez!" he continued, turning to the throng of boys who had gathered densely round to witness the presentation, " does anybody call in question Hope's right to receive this purse? Well, Hope, here it is, and I hope you will make a proper use of it, as the good-boy books say."


Stay a minute!" exclaimed a voice from the extreme edge of the throng. "I mean to claim the right to play with the winner." There was some confusion in the crowd, and then Alfred Brett pushed his way through to the place where the umpire was standing. "I think I understood," he resumed, amid the dead silence of surprise which prevailed, "that any one had a right to challenge the successful player to another game? Is that the case?"

"Are you one of the fellows belonging to the school?" said Mr. Blenkinsopp, eyeing the new-comer with evident surprise and doubt. "No one else has any right to compete for this prize."

“I am one of the boys," returned Brett, "though I have only been here a short time."

"A very short time, I should think, returned Mr. Blenkinsopp. "Since yesterday only, I believe—is it


"I do not understand you," said Brett. "I have been here rather more than a fortnight."

"Indeed!" said the other; "then I suppose I must be mistaken. But if I understood your proclamation aright, Cooper, and this gentleman's statement is correct, he is entitled to what he claims-is it not so?" he added turning to the boys.

A Babel of replies burst forth. "He can't play


"He said he couldn't." "He refused to pay

the cricket subscription, on the ground that he couldn't play." "It oughtn't to be allowed." "It ought to be put to the vote."

"Just be quiet a minute," said hearing with considerable difficulty.

Norton, gaining a "Do you mean to deny, Brett, that you refused to pay the cricket-money, on the ground that you didn't play cricket?"

"I said, that I didn't mean to play cricket, not that I couldn't play," returned Brett.

"Then you only propose to play now, because you want to win this money? I don't think Hammond intended his prize to go to a fellow who had never taken any part, and never means to take any, in the cricket,” pursued Norton.

"I should like to say a word," said Hope, who had hitherto stood silent. "I don't know whether, according to the strict letter of the law, Brett is entitled to challenge me or not; but I think it rests with me to say, whether I will accept his challenge."

"Well, certainly," said Blenkensopp, "no one can dispute that."

"Then I say at once that I cannot take this money, unless Brett withdraws his demand, or I beat him in the match which he requires to be played. I proposed the condition in question myself, and must not be the first to break it. In fact I am ready to play him this minute; and the wickets had better be pitched without loss of time."

No one could say anything in opposition to this. Indeed, notwithstanding the reluctance of the Barfordites to allow Brett to gain his end, it was so much in accordance with the spirit of fairness wherein boys delight, that it was impossible for them not to approve it. They fell in with it so thoroughly in fact, that Brett was not only suffered to play the match, but was provided with one of the best bats, as well as with

cricket-shoes, gloves, and all other requisites, as though every one were resolved, that he should not have to complain of having been subjected to the slightest disadvantage. He took his stand at the wicket, having won the toss, and claimed the first innings, amid a dead silence, all looking on with intense interest to see how he would acquit himself. There was a general idea that, after all, he could not really play cricket, or, at all events, not well enough to justify the challenge he had given. Many of the boys held him to be half-crazy, and his present resolve a mere idle freak.

But these theories were speedily dissipated. He had not received half a dozen of Hope's balls before it was seen, that he was neither a novice nor a pretender. Availing himself of his height, which was greater than that of Brook or Norton, and gave him a longer reach, he contrived to hit dexterously several balls, which the others must in prudence have blocked, and without making any one distant hit, he ran up a score which amounted to a dozen runs, before one of Hope's best balls at length overthrew his wicket.

The boys, who had been both astonished and provoked at the result of the match thus far, now began to take heart again. He was a first-rate bat, that was evident; but it did not follow that he could also bowl. If he should be wanting in this requisite, Hope would gain an easy victory, notwithstanding the formidable number of runs which were registered on his side. But this hope once more was dispersed to the winds as soon as Hope's innings commenced. Walking deliberately up to the bowling stump, so that every one expected to see the ball bowled unusually slowly, Brett delivered it with a rapidity and precision which Mr. Blenkinsopp-who had played with some of the first professionals of the daydeclared he had rarely seen equalled. Hope made the

best fight in his power, blocking the balls, one after another, as well as he could, and once even succeeded in

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