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level ground, or in his depth, or play quoits or bowls.
The guard had just finished an account of a desperate fight which had happened at one of the fairs between the drovers and the farmers with their whips, and the boys with cricket-bats and wickets, which arose out of a playful but objectionable practice of the boys of going round to the public-houses, and taking the lynch-pins out of the wheels of the gigs, and was moralizing upon the way in which the Doctor, “ a terrible stern man he'd heard tell,” had come down upon several of the performers, “ sending three on 'em off next morning, each in a po-chay with a parish constable,” when they turned a corner and neared the mile-stone, the third from Rugby. By the stone two boys stood, their jackets buttoned tight, waiting for the coach.
“ Look here, sir,” says the guard, after giving a sharp toot-toot, “there's two on 'em, out-and-out runners they be. They comes out about twice or three times a-week, and spirts a mile alongside of us."
And as they came up, sure enough, away went the two boys along the footpath, keeping up with the horses; the first a light clean-made fellow going on springs, the other stout and round-shouldered, labouring in his pace, but going as dogged as a bullterrier.
Old Blow-hard looked on admiringly. “See how beautiful' that there un holds hisself together, and goes from his hips, sir,” said he; “ he's a'mazin' fine runner. Now many coachmen as drives a first-rate
TOM'S FIRST SIGHT OF RUGBY.
team'd put it on, and try and pass 'em. But Bob, sir, bless you, he's tender-hearted; he'd sooner pull in a bit if he see'd 'em a gettin' beat. I do b’lieve too as that there un'd sooner break his heart than let us go by him afore next mile-stone."
At the second mile-stone the boys pulled up short, and waived their hats to the guard, who had his watch out and shouted, 4.56, thereby indicating that the mile had been done in four seconds under the five minutes. They passed several more parties of boys, all of them objects of the deepest interest to Tom, and came in sight of the town at ten minutes before twelve. Tom fetched a long breath, and thought he had never spent a pleasanter day. Before he went to bed he had quite settled that it must be the greatest day he should ever spend, and didn't alter his opinion for many a long year, if he
RUGBY AND FOOTBALL.
- Foot and eye opposed In dubious strife.
" AND 80 here's Rugby, sir, at last, and you'll be in plenty. of time for dinner at the schoolhouse, as I telld you,” said the old guard, pulling his horn out of its case, and tootle-tooing away; while the coachman shook up his horses, and carried them along side of the school-close, round Dead-man's corner, past the school-gates and down the High street, to the Spread Eagle; the wheelers in a spanking trot, and leaders cantering, in a style which would not have disgraced “ Cherry Bob,” “ramping, stamping, tearing, swearing Billy Harwood," or any other of the old coaching heroes.
Tom's heart beat quick as he passed the great school-field or close, with its noble elms, in which several games at football were going on, and tried to take in at once the long line of gray buildings, beginning with the chapel, and ending with the school-house, the residence of the head-master, where the great flag was lazily waving from the highest round tower. And he began already to
TOM FINDS A PATRON.
be proud of being a Rugby boy, as he passed the school-gates, with the oriel window above, and saw the boys standing there, looking as if the town belonged to them; and nodding in a familiar manner to the coachman, as if any one of them would be quite equal to getting on the box, and working the team down street as well
One of the young heroes, however, ran out from the rest, and scrambled up behind; where, having righted himself, and nodded to the guard, with “ How do, Jem?” he turned short round to Tom, and, after looking him over for a minute, began
“ I say, you fellow, is your name Brown ?"
“ Yes," said Tom, in considerable astonishment; glad, however, to have lighted on some one already who seemed to know him.
“ Ah, I thought so; you know my old aunt, Miss East; she lives somewhere down your way in Berkshire. She wrote to me that you were coming today, and asked me to give you a lift.”
Tom was somewhat inclined to resent the patronizing air of his new friend, a boy of just about his own height and age, but gifted with the most transcendent coolness and assurance, which Tom felt to be aggravating and hard to bear, but couldn't for the life of him help admiring and envyingespecially when young my lord begins hectoring two or three long loafing fellows, half porter, half stable-men, with a strong touch of the blackguard, and in the end arranges with one of them, nicknamed
Cooey, to carry Tom's luggage up to the schoolhouse for sixpence.
“ And heark'ee, Cooey, it must be up in ten minutes, or no more jobs from me. Come along, Brown.” And away swaggers the young potentate, with his hands in his pockets, and Tom at his side.
“ All right, sir,” says Cooey, touching his hat, with a leer and a wink at his comrades.
“ Hullo tho'," says East, pulling up, and taking another look at Tom,“ this 'll never do got a hat? we never wear caps here. Only the louts wear caps.
you were to go into the quadrangle with that thing on, I don't know what'd happen.” The very idea was quite beyond young Master East, and he looked unutterable things.
Tom thought his cap a very knowing affair, but confessed that he had a hat in his hat-box; which was accordingly at once extracted from the hind boot, and Tom equipped in his go-to-meeting roof, as his new friend called it. But this didn't quite suit his fastidious taste in another minute, being too shiny; so, as they walk up the town, they dive into Nixon's the hatter's, and Tom is arrayed, to his utter astonishment, and without paying for it, in a regulation cat-skin at seven-and-sixpence; Nixon undertaking to send the best hat up to the matron's room, school-house, in half-an-hour.
“ You can send in a note for a tile on Monday, and make it all right, you know," said Mentor; " we're allowed two seven-and-sixers a half, besides what we bring from home.”