Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

vous

“I haven't got a sister, as you know sad, and disinclined to fight. Barty and quite well-and if I had she wouldn't I had sat turned away from each other, be for you!” says Barty.

and made no attempt at reconciliation. "Why not?”

We all went to the réfectoire; it was “Because you're not good-looking raining fast. I made my ball of salt enough!” says Barty.

and butter, and put it in a hole in my At this, just for fun, I gave him a hunk of bread, and ran back to the nudge in the wind with my elbow-and study, where I locked these treasures in he gave me a “twisted pinch” on the my desk. armwand I kicked him on the ankle, The study soon filled with boys; no but so much harder than I intended masters ever came there during that that it hurt him, and he gave me a tre- half hour; they generally smoked and mendous box on the ear, and we set to read their newspapers in the gymnastic fighting like a couple of wild-cats, ground, or else in their own rooms without even getting up, to the scandal when it was wet outside. of the whole study and the indignant D'Orthez and Berquin moved one or disgust of M. Dumollard, who sep- two desks and forms out of the way so arated us, and read us a pretty lęc- as to make a ring—l'arène, as they ture:

called it with comfortable seats all “Voilà bien les Anglais!-rien n'est round. Small boys stood on forms and sacré pour eux, pas même la mort! rien window-sills eating their bread-andque les chiens et les chevaux.” (Noth- lutter with a tremendous relish. ing, not even death, is sacred to En- Dites donc,

autres,"

says glishmen nothing but dogs and Bonneville, the wit of the school, who horses.)

was in very high spirits; “it's like the When we went up to bed, the head Roman Empire during the decadence boy of the school-a first-rate boy called -panem et circenses !! » d'Orthez, and Berquin (another first- “What's that, circenses? what does it rate boy), who had each a bedroom to mean?” says Rapaud, with his mouth himself, came into the dormitory and full. took up the quarrel, and discussed what “Why, butter, you idiot! Didn't you should be done. Both of us were En- know that?says Bonneville. glish-ergo, both of us ought to box Barty and I stood opposite each other; away the insult with our fists; so at his sides as seconds were d'Orthez “they set a combat us between, to and Berquin; at mine, Jolivet trois (the fecht it in the dawing,” that is just only Jolivet now left in the school) and after breakfast, in the schoolroom. big du Tertre-Jouan (the young mar

I went to bed very unhappy, and so, quis who wasn't Bonneville). I think, did Barty.

We began to spar at each other in as Next morning at six, just after the knowing and English a way as we morning prayer, M. Mérovée came into knew how-keeping a very respectful the schoolroom and made us a most distance indeed, and trying to bear our. straightforward, manly, and affecting selves as scientifically as we could, with speech; in which he told us he meant to

a keen expression of the eye. keep on the school, and thanked us, When I looked into Barty's face I felt boys and masters, for our sympathy. that nothing on earth would ever make

We were all moved to our very depths me hit such a face as that-whatever he -and sat at our work solemn and sor- might do to mine. My blood wasn't up; rowful, all through that lamp-lit hour besides, I was a coarse-grained, thickand a half; we hardly dared to cough, set, bullet-headed little chap, with no and never looked up from our desks. nerves to speak of, and didn't mind pun.

Then 7.30—ding-dang-dong and break- ishment the least bit. No more did fast. Thursday – bread - and - butter Barty, for that matter, though he was morning!

the most highly wrought creature that I felt hungry and greedy and very ever lived.

[ocr errors]

At length they all got impatient, and “I would sooner bleed on your blouse d'Orthez said:

than on your tomb." (J'aime mieux “Allez donc, godems-ce n'est pas un saigner sur ta blouse que sur ta tombe.) quadrille! Nous n'sommes pas à La So ended the only quarrel we ever Salle Valentino!"

had. And Barty was pushed from behind From "The Martian.” By George du Maurier. so roughly that he came at me, all his science to the winds and slogging like a French boy; and I, quite without meaning to, in the hurry, hit out just as he fell over me, and we both rolled

From The Cosmopolitan.

IN THE HANDS OF THE TAI-PING REBELS. together over Jolivet's foot-Barty on top (he was taller, though not heavier, Very much against my wishes and than I); and I saw the blood flow from advice, orders were given to spike the his nose down his lip and chin, and guns and prepare to burn the city. some of it fell on my blouse.

When I remonstrated with the two Says Barty to me, in English, as we commanders, Admiral Hope stated that lay struggling on the dusty floor:- he had lent his assistance with the

“Look here, it's no good. I can't fight distinct understanding that Sing-Pu to-day; poor Mérovée, you know. Let's should be evacuated. I offered to hold make it up!”

the city with five hundred extra men, “All right!” says I. So up we got and but my proposition was not listened to. shook hands, Barty saying, with Naturally, a great deal of confusion mock dignity,

followed upon the order to set fire to “Messieurs, le sang a coulé; l'honneur the city. In the attendant excitement britannique est sauf;" and the combat some one blundered.

The fact that my

European officers were under arrest, "Oristi! J'ai jolimer faim!" says made the situation a complicated one. Barty, mopping his nose with his hand- The west gate was left unguarded. Bekerchief. “I left my crust on the bench fore we could fairly realize what had outside the réfectoire. I wish one of happened, the rebels had scaled the you fellows would get it for me." walls and were swarming through the

“Rapaud finished your crust [ta' city. I suddenly realized that the inmiche] while you were fighting,” says surgents were in possession and were Jolivet. “I saw him."

making quick work of my people. Says Rapaud: "Ah, Dame, it was get. Borne aloft over their front ranks were ting prettily wet, your crust, and I was the heads of my officers fixed on spears prettily hungry too; and I thought you —the unfortunate men whom I had redidn't want it, naturally."

cently placed under arrest. The rebels I then produced my crust and cut it in

were showing no quarter, and were two, butter and all, and gave Barty fighting like demons. In an incredibly half, and we sat very happily side by short time my men were entirely anside, and breakfasted together in peace nihilated. and amity. I never felt happier or General Ward, whose command was hungrier.

near the east gate, was driven beyond “Cristi,

ils sont bien the walls, as far as the English lines, battus,” says little Vaissière to little where the admiral opened fire from his Cormenu. As-tu

vu? Josselin a gunboats, shielding the imperialists saigné tout plein sur la blouse à while embarking. Maurice." (How well they fought! While I was a witness to all this, inJosselin bled all over Maurice's blouse!) cluding the massacre of my men, I, cu

Then says Josselin, in French, turn riously enough, had no participation in ing to me with that delightful jolly the affair. At the first sound of firing, smile that always reminded one of the I had rushed up a tower close by, which sun breaking through a mist,

had been used as an observatory, with

was over.

[ocr errors]

comme

se

a view to ascertaining the cause of the A crowd of curious rebels hung around disturbance. Before I could get down the door, staring and jeering. Among the rebels had completely surrounded them was the fourteen-year-old son of the tower—so quickly did they overrun The Protecting King, who was accomthe city-and I was a prisoner.

panied by his tutor, a dignified and fineWhen the work of destruction was looking old fellow. The boy was smokfinished, they offered to spare my life ing a silver pipe, and, puffing it rapidly if I would descend. I knew what their until the bowl had become almost redproposition meant. The end would be hot, he touched it to my unprotected worse than death.

It meant torture. body. The flesh sizzled, and the crowd So I declined, but heaped upon their applauded the cruelty. He did it beads such insult as my vocabulary several times until, finally, his position was capable of, in the hope that they bringing him within my reach, I drew would shoot and end all quickly. But back both feet and gave him a kick it was not to be so. Finally I was that knocked him down and sent him taken, stripped naked, my elbows tied sliding across the room. The boy lost behind my back, and led before The all control of his temper, and, picking Protecting King.

up a gingal, hurled it at me. The irou This Wang bad appropriated my struck my shoulder and knocked me headquarters, and, when I entered, was filat. sitting in the very chair I had used so The tutor had not entered into the recently during my interview with spirit of the boy's torments at all, and him.

at this cowardly act he administered He was in a furious rage, both be- to the lad a severe reproof, saying that cause the city had been burned and be

honorable soldiers never took advancause after his visit I had been very tage of prisoners or unarmed men. It strict with my prisoners, being com- turned out after all that the boy had a pelled to punish with instant death any good heart. The tutor's words proinfraction of the rules. I refused to duced an effect, and he seemed thorkneel when ordered, with the idea of oughly ashamed of his cruelty.

He so insulting him that he would put me begged me to forgive him, and swore to death. His soldiers, however, easily that I should not be put to death by his forced me down, by striking me back father. From that hour he became of my knees. Wang was drinking out my warmest friend and secret ally. of a teapot when I was led in.

As soon

He was as good as his word. The as I had been forced down be threw it next morning when I was led out for at me, the scalding tea splashing over execution he pleaded my cause so earmy head and breast. In response to nestly that his father presently conhis questions I replied that I alone was

sented to spare my life. I confess that responsible for the orders to shoot the I had some fears that The Protecting prisoners and burn the city. I hoped King's action was not altogether from he would lose his temper and order me merciful motives, and that he had the shot then and there. Such, however, intention to renew my agonies at no was not the result; instead he devised distant day. quite an ingenious plan of torture, Preparatory to the forward movewhich contemplated that I should be ment of the rebel forces, an iron collar covered with paper soaked in oil, then was riveted around my neck and the set on fire, and the amusement kept up end of a chain fastened to this collar until I should be reduced to cinders. and the other to the saddle of a pack

My guards led me to an underground horse. In this manner, with my arms room, lined with concrete, which had bound and my person entirely naked, been used as a magazine, there to spend I walked or was dragged for more than the night and await in anticipation of thirty days under a broiling sun. It my approaching death. My legs as would be impossible to give a faint well as my arms were securely bound. idea of my sufferings during that pe

[ocr errors]

riod. From a strong, robust man, I they asked testily, but even now he wasted away to a mere skeleton, and, could not tell. He had wanted a Scotch at the end of a month, I was well-nigh word that would signify how many peobroken in spirit as well as in body. ple were in church, and it was on the Had it not been for my boy friend, the tip of his tongue but would come no son of the king, I certainly would have farther. Puckle was nearly the word, given up. My daily allowance of food but it did not mean so many people as and drink was a pint bowl filled with he meant. The hour had gone by just rice and water; but the boy would fre- like winking; he had forgotten all about quently steal up in the night and bring time while searching his mind for the me food that seemed a feast.

word. Gen. Edward Forester. When Mr. Ogilvy heard this he

seemed to be much impressed, re peatedly he nodded his head as some beat time to music, and he muttered to himself, “The right word-yes, that's

everything,” and “the time went by From Scribner's Magazine. like winking'-exactly, precisely," aud BETWEEN CURRAN AND MASK. he would have liked to examine TomFor after all-how to tell it! Tommy my's bumps, but did not, nor said a was ignominiously beaten, making word aloud, for was he not there in such a beggarly show that the judges McLauchlan's interest? thought it unnecessary to take the es- The other five were furious, even Mr. says home with them for leisurely con- Lorrimer, though his man had won, sideration before pronouncing Mr. could not smile in face of such imbecilLauchlan McLauchlan winner. There ity. "You little tattie doolie," Cathro was quite a commotion in the school- roared, “were there not a dozen words room. At the end of the allotted time to wile from if you had an ill-will to the two competitors had been told to puckle? What ailed you at manzy, hand in their essays, and how Mr. McLauchlan was sniggering is not worth I thought of manzy,"

replied recording, so dumbfounded, confused Tommy, wofully, for he was ashamed and raging was Tommy. He clung to of himself, “but-but a manzy's a his papers, crying fiercely that the two swarm. It would mean that the folk hours could not be up yet, and Lauch- in the kirk were buzzing thegither like lan having tried to keep the laugh in bees, instead of sitting still.” too long, it exploded in his mouth, “Even if it does mean that,” said Mr. whe pon he said, with a guffaw, Duthie, with impatience, “what was the "He hasna written a word for near an sense of being so particular? Surely hour!”

the art of essay writing consists in "What! It was you I heard!" cried using the first word that comes and Mr. Ogilvy, gleaming, while the un- hurrying on." happy Cathro tore the essay from Tom- “That's how I did," said the proud my's hands. Essay! It was no more McLauchlan, who is now leader of a an essay than a twig is a tree, for the party in the church, and a figure in gowk had stuck in the middle of his Edinburgh during the month of May. second page.

Yes, stuck is the right “I see,” interposed Mr. Gloag, “that expression, as his chagrined teacher McLauchlan speaks of there being a had to admit when the boy was cross- mask of people in the church. Mask is examined. He had not been "up to a fine Scotch word.” some of his tricks," he had stuck, and “Admirable," assented Mr. Dishart. his explanation, as you will admit, “I thought of mask,” whimpered merely emphasized his incapacity. Tommy, "but that would mean the kirk

He had brought himself to public was crammed, and I just meant it to bi scorn for lack of a word. What word? middling full.”

or

“Flow would have done,” suggested they were preparing to leave the school Mr. Lorrimer

the door opened a little and there ap"Flow's but a handful,” said Tommy. peared in the aperture the face of "Curran, then, you jackanapes!” Tommy, tear-stained but excited. “I “Curran's no enough.”

ken the word now," he cried, “it came Mr. Lorrimer fung up his hands in to me a’ at once; it is hantle!" despair.

The door closed with a victorious "I wanted something between curran bang, just in time to prevent Cathroand mask,” said Tommy, dogged, yet “Oh, the sumph!" exclaimed Mr. almost at the crying.

Lauchlan McLauchlan, “as if it matMr. Ogilvy, who had been hiding his tered what the word is now!" admiration with difficulty, spread a net And said Mr. Dishart, “Cathro, you for him, “You said you wanted a word had better tell Aaron Latta that the that meant middling full. Well, why sooner he sends this nincompoop to the did you not say middling full-or fell herding the better." mask?”

But Mr. Ogilvy giving his Lauchlan “Yes, why not?” demanded the min- a push that nearly sent him sprawling, isters, unconsciously caught in the net. said in an ecstasy to himself, “He had

“I wanted one word,” replied Tommy, to think of it till he got it-and he got unconsciously avoiding it.

it. The lad is a genius!” They were “You jewel!" muttered Mr. Ogilvy about to tear up Tommy's essay, but he under his breath, but Mr. Cathro would snatched it from them and put it in his have banged the boy's head had not the oxter pocket. “I am a collector of curi. ministers interfered.

osities,” he explained, "and this paper "It is so easy, too, to find the right may be worth money yet.” word,” said Mr. Gloag.

"Well,” said Cathro savagely, “I “It's no; it's as difficult as to hit a have one satisfaction; I ran him out of squirrel,” cried Tommy, and again Mr.

my school.” Ogilvy nodded approval.

“Who knows," replied Mr. Ogilvy, But the ministers were only pained. “but what you may be proud to dust a

“The lad is merely a numskull,” said chair for him when he comes back?" Mr. Disbart kindly.

From “ Sentimental Tommy." By J. M. Barrie. “And no teacher could have turned him into anything else,” said Mr. Duthie.

“And so, Cathro, you need not feel sore over your defeat," added Mr.

From McClure's Magazine. Gloag; but nevertheless Cathro took THE MORAL ELEMENT IN FICTION. Tommy by the neck and ran him out of Since art implies the truthful and the parish school of Thrums. When conscientious study of life as it is, we he returned to the others he found the contend that to be a radically defective ministers congratulating McLauchlan, view of art which would preclude from whose nose was in the air, and compli- it the ruling constituents of life. Moral menting Mr. Ogilvy, who listened to character is to human life what air is to their formal phrases solemnly and ac- the natural world-it is elemental. cepted their hand-shakes with a dry There was more than literary science chuckle.

in Matthew Arnold's arithmetic when “Ay, grin away, sir," the mortified he called “conduct three-fourths of dominie of Thrums said to him sourly, life.” Possibly the Creator did not “the joke is on your side.”

make the world chiefly for the purpose “You are right, sir," replied Mr. of providing studies for gifted novelOgilvie, mysteriously, “the joke is on ists; but if he had done so, we can my side, and the best of it is that not scarcely imagine that he could have one of you knows what the joke is!" offered anything much better in the

And then the odd thing happened. As way of material, even though one look

« VorigeDoorgaan »