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´╗┐Title: Brave and True - Short stories for children by G. M. Fenn and Others
Author: Fenn, George Manville, 1831-1909
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Brave and True - Short stories for children by G. M. Fenn and Others" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Brave and True,
Short stories for children by G M Fenn and others.

Although Fenn's name appears on the cover, and on the title-page, he
does not appear to have written more than one of the stories, and the
story that gave its name to the book was not by him.  There are several
stories that were not signed by an author's name, so we have a mystery
there.  They were probably just using Fenn's name to sell the book.

The target audience appears to be seven- or eight-year-olds; certainly
not the sixteen-year-olds that Fenn generally aimed for.  There are
twelve items, three of which are rather trivial "poems".  The nine short
stories all have the theme "Brave and True", and vary in their settings
from small boarding-schools in the Home Counties, to the Rocky

We had originally intended to produce this book merely as a pdf (which
is of course still available), but with an effort of will we managed to
make an xhtml book of it, though this does not have all the delightful
little line drawings that appeared throughout the eighty pages of the

It is possible that the principal merit of this book is the way it
throws light on the lives of the younger boarding-school boys and girls
of the nineteenth century, particularly eight to thirteen year-old
boys.  I can tell you that not a lot had changed by the time I was
at such a school, less than fifty years later.  Even the Eton collar
and the bum-freezer jacket was familiar to me!




"But I say, Martin, tell us about it!  My pater wrote to me that you'd
done no end of heroic things, and saved Bullace senior from being
killed.  His pater told him, so I know it's all right.  But wasn't it a
joke you two should be on the same ship?"

Martin looked up at his old schoolfellow.  He had suddenly become a
person of importance in the well-known old haunts where he had learned
and played only as one of the schoolboys.

"It wasn't much of a joke sometimes," said he.  "I thought at first that
I was glad to see a face I knew.  But there were lots of times after
that when I _didn't_ think it."

"Wasn't old Bullfrog amiable, then?"

"He was never particularly partial to me, you know," answered Martin.
"The first term I was at school--before you came--I remember I caught
him out at a cricket match.  He was always so sure of making top score!
He called me an impudent youngster in those days."

"He never was too good to you, I remember.  I was one of the chaps he
let alone."

"Well, he went on calling me an impudent youngster," continued Martin,
"and all that sort of thing--and he tried to set the other fellows
against me.  Oh, it isn't all jam in the Royal Navy!  You haven't left
school when you go _there_, and the gunroom isn't always just exactly
paradise, you know!  And if your seniors try to make it hot for you,
why--they can!"

"So you and Bullfrog didn't exactly hit it off?"

"Oh, well, he was sub-lieutenant this last voyage, and you can't stand
up to your senior officer as you can to your schoolfellows, don't you

There was a minute's silence, broken by an eager request.  "But tell us
about the battle.  What did it feel like to be there?  How was it old
Bullfrog let you go at all?"

"He hadn't the ordering of _that_, thank goodness," said Martin
fervently.  "And I was jolly glad he hadn't!  We had some excitement
getting those big guns along, I can tell you!  The roads weren't just
laid out for that game."

"Well, go on," said another eager voice.  "Then one day we came upon the
enemy, and there was a stand-up fight, you know.  How did it feel?
Well, there wasn't much thinking about it.  You just knew that you were
ready to blaze at them, and they were popping at you from their
entrenchments; and that you jolly well meant to give them the worst of

"Well, about Bullfrog?"

"Oh, that was nothing," said Martin, reddening.  "He must have got
excited or something, for he took a step forward, putting himself in
full view, and just then I saw what he didn't see--that there were some
of those Boer beggars just under our kopje, and that one of them had
raised his rifle to pick off Bullfrog.  So I made a flying leap on to
his back and knocked him flat, and the bullet that was meant for him
just crossed the back of my coat and ripped it up.  Didn't even scratch

The little knot of listeners around Martin waited with bated breath for

"But he didn't escape scot-free after all," continued Martin.  "Ten
minutes after that he got shot in the leg.  The bone was fractured, and
he couldn't move.  I saw him fall and I pulled him to a little hollow
under a stone where he'd be safe.  And it was just as well, for the
cavalry came up over there when the chase began.  We gave them the
licking they deserved that day.  But you know all about that."

"Wish I'd been you!" said Martin's old schoolfellow very enviously.
"But what about Bullfrog after that?"

"He was taken in the ambulance-cart and put in hospital.  I saw him
there and he was getting on all right."

"And what did he say?"

"He said I'd caught him out again and a lot more.  But it was all
nonsense, you know."

"I expect he was sorry he'd ever made it hot for you," said one of the

"You ought to have a VC or something for it, _I_ consider," said

"Rot!" answered Martin.  "If a schoolfellow and a shipmate of yours
wanted a push out of danger, wouldn't you give it him?  And you wouldn't
think yourself a hero either!"

"Other people might, though," answered Martin's old schoolfellow.



It does not take long to make a kite, if you know how, have the right
things for the purpose, and Cook is in a good temper.  But then, cooks
are not always amiable, and that's a puzzle; for disagreeable people are
generally yellow and stringy, while pleasant folk are pink-and-white and
plump, and Mrs Lester's Cook at "Lombardy" was extremely plump, so much
so that Ned Lester used to laugh at her and say she was fat, whereupon
Cook retorted by saying good-humouredly: "All right, Master Ned, so I
am; but you can't have too much of a good thing."

There was doubt about the matter, though.  Cook had a most fiery temper
when she was busy, and when that morning Ned went with Tizzy--so called
because she was christened Lizzie--and found Cook in her private
premises--the back kitchen--peeling onions, with a piece of bread stuck
at the end of the knife to keep the onion-juice from making her cry, and
asked her to make him a small basin of paste, her kitchen majesty
uttered a loud snort.

"Which I just shan't," she cried; "and if your Mar was at home you
wouldn't dare to ask.  I never did see such a tiresome, worriting boy as
you are, Master Ned.  You're always wanting something when I'm busy; and
what your master's a-thinking about to give you such long holidays at
midsummer I don't know."

"They aren't long," said Ned, indignant at the idea of holidays being
too long for a boy of eleven.

"Don't you contradict, sir, or I'll just tell your Mar; and the sooner
you're out of my kitchen the better for you.  Be off, both of you!"

It was on Tizzy's little red lips to say: "Oh, please do make some
paste!" but she was not peeling onions, and had no knife with a piece of
bread-crumb at the end to keep the tears from coming.  So come they did,
and sobs with them to stop the words.

"Never mind, Tiz," cried Ned, lifting her on to a chair.  "Here, get on
my back and I'll carry you.  Cook's in a tantrum this morning."

Tizzy placed her arms round her brother's neck and clung tightly while
he played the restive steed, and raised Cook's ire to red-hot point by
purposely kicking one of the Windsor chairs, making it scroop on the
beautifully-white floor of the front kitchen, and making the queen of
the domain rush out at him, looking red-eyed and ferocious, for the
onion-juice had affected her.

"Now, just you look here, Master Ned."

But Ned didn't stop to look; for, after the restive kick at the chair,
he had broken into a canter, dashed down the garden and through the gate
into the meadow, across which he now galloped straight for the new
haystack, for only a week before that meadow had been forbidden ground
and full of long, waving, flowery strands.

The grasshoppers darted right and left from the brown patches where the
scythes had left their marks; the butterflies fled in their butterfly

So did a party of newly-fledged sparrowkins, and, still playing the
pony, Ned kept on, drawing his sister's attention to the various
objects, as he made for the long row of Lombardy poplars which grew so
tall and straight close to the deep river-side, and gave the name
"Lombardy" to the charming little home.

But it was all in vain; nothing would pacify the sobbing child, not even
the long red-and-yellow monkey barge gliding along the river, steered by
a woman in a print hood, and drawn by a drowsy-looking grey horse at the
end of a long tow-rope, bearing a whistling boy seated sidewise on his
back and a dishcover-like pail hanging from his collar.

"Oh, I say, don't cry, Tizzy," protested Ned, at last, as he felt the
hot tears trickling inside his white collar.

"I can't help it, Teddy," she sobbed.  "I did so want to see the kite

"Never mind, pussy," said her brother; "I'll get the butterfly-net."

"No, no," she sobbed; "please don't."

"The rod and line, then, and you shall fish.  I'll put on the worms."

"No, no, I don't want to," she said, with more tears.  "Put me down,
please; you do joggle me so.  You'll be going back to school soon, and,
now the grass is cut, I did so wa-wa-want to see the kite fly!"

"So did I," said the boy ruefully.  "But don't cry, Tiz dear.  Tell me
what to do.  It makes me so miserable to see you cry."

"Does it, Teddy?" she said, looking up wistfully in her brother's face,
and then kissing him.  "There, then: I won't cry any more."

She had hardly spoken when the sunshine returned to her pretty little
face, for, though she did not know it, that sorrowful countenance had
quite softened Cook's heart, and she stood in the kitchen doorway,
calling the young people and waving a steaming white basin, which she
set down on the window-sill with a bang.

"Here's your paste, Master Ned," she shouted; and then, muttering to
herself something about being such a "soft," she disappeared.

Five minutes later the young folk were in the play-room and Ned was
covering the framework of his simply-made kite with white paper, Tizzy
helping and getting her little fingers pasty the while.  Then a loop was
made on the centre lath; the wet kite was found to balance well; wings
were made, and a long string with a marble tied in the thumb of a glove
attached to the end for a tail; the ball of new string taken off the top
of the drawers, and the happy couple went off in high glee to fly the

"It's half-dry already," said Ned.  "Paste soon dries in hot weather."

"Do let me carry the string, Teddy," cried Tiz; and the next minute she
was stepping along with it proudly, while Ned, with his arm through the
loop and the kite on his back, looked something like a Knight Crusader
with a white shield.

The grasshoppers and butterflies scattered; the paper dried rapidly in
the hot sun, as the kite lay on the grass while the string was fastened,
Tizzy having the delightful task of rolling the ball along the grass to
unwind enough for the first flight; and then, after Ned had thrown a
stray goose-feather to make sure which way the wind blew, this being
towards the tall poplars, Tizzy was set to hold up the kite as high as
she could.

"Mind and don't tread on its tail, Tiz," shouted Ned, as he ran off to
where the ball of spring lay on the grass.

"No; it's stretched right out," she cried.

"Ready?" shouted Ned.


"Higher then.  Now, off!"

The string tightened as the boy ran off facing the wind, and, as if glad
to be released, the kite seemed to pluck itself out of its holder's
hands and darted aloft, the little girl clapping her hands with glee.
For it was a good kite, Ned being a clever maker, of two summers'
experience.  Away it went, higher and higher, till there was no need for
the holder to run, and consequently he began to walk back towards Tizzy,
unwinding more and more string till there was but little left, when the
string was placed in Tizzy's hands, and, breathless and flushed with
excitement, she held on, watching the soaring framework of paper, with
its wings fluttering and its tail invisible all but the round knob at
the end, sailing about in the air.

But alas! how short-lived are some of our pleasures!  That fine twine
was badly made, or one part was damaged, for, just when poor Tizzy's
little arm was being jerked by the kite in its efforts to escape and fly
higher, the string parted about half-way, and the kite learned that,
like many animated creatures, it could not fly alone, for it went off
before the wind, falling and falling most pitifully, with Ned going at
full speed after the flying string which trailed over the grass.  He
caught up to it at last, but too late, for it was just as the kite
plunged into the top of one of the highest trees by the river, and there
it stuck.

Tizzy came crying up, while Ned jerked and tugged at the string till he
knew that if he pulled harder the kite would be torn; but there it
stuck, and Tizzy wept.

"Oh," she cried, "and such a beautiful kite as it was!"

"Don't you cry," said Ned, caressing her.  "I'll soon get it again."

"Oh, but you can't, Teddy!"

"Can't I?" he cried, setting his teeth.  "I'll soon show you.  Hold this

As his sister caught the string the boy dashed to the tree.

"Oh, Teddy, don't; you'll fall--you'll fall!" cried Tizzy.

"That I won't," he said stoutly.  "I've climbed larger trees than this
at school."

And, taking advantage of the rough places of the bark, the boy swarmed
up to where the branches made the climbing less laborious, and then he
went on up and up, higher and higher, till the tree began to quiver and
bend, and he shouted to his sister, breathlessly watching him, her
little heart beating fast the while.

She was not the only watcher, for another barge was coming along the
river, and, as it drew nearer, the boy on the horse stopped his steed
and the man steering lay back to look up.  And higher and higher went
Ned, till the tree began to bend with his weight, and he laughingly gave
it an impetus to make it swing him when he was about six feet from where
the kite hung upside down by its tangled tail, but happily untorn.
"Look out, Tiz!" shouted Ned.

"Yes, yes, dear; but do take care."

"All right," he cried.  "I'm going to cut off his tail, and I shall say
when.  Then you pull the string and it will come down.  Wo-ho!" he
cried, as he tugged out his knife, for the tree bent and bent like a
fishing-rod, the spiny centre on which he was being now very thin.
Then, steadying himself, he climbed the last six feet and hung over
backwards, holding up his legs and one hand, as he used his knife and
divided the string tail.  "Pull, Tiz, pull!" he shouted, "Run!"

Tizzy obeyed and the kite followed her.

"Hoo-ray," shouted Ned, taking off his cap to give it a wave, when,
crick! crack! the tree snapped twenty feet below him, and the next
moment poor Ned was describing a curve in the air, for the wood and bark
held the lower part like a huge hinge, while Ned clung tightly for some
moments before he was flung outwards, to fall with a tremendous splash.

Poor Tizzy heard the sharp snap of the tree and turned, to gaze in
horror at her brother's fall, uttering a wild shriek as she saw him
disappear in the sparkling water; and then in her childlike dread she
closed her eyes tightly, stopped her ears, and ran blindly across the
meadow, shrieking with all her little might and keeping her eyes fast
closed, till she found herself caught up and a shower of questions were

They were in vain at first, for the poor child was utterly dazed, hardly
recognising the friendly arms which had caught her up, till those arms
gave her a good shake.

"Master Ned!--why don't you speak, child?--where's your brother?"

"Oh," shrieked Tizzy, "the water--the water!  Tumbled in."

"Oh, my poor darling bairn!" cried Cook, hugging Tizzy to her, as she
ran towards, the river.  "I knew it--I knew it!  I was always sure my
own dear boy would be drowned."

There was no ill-temper now, for Cook was sobbing hysterically as she
ran, with the tears streaming down her cheeks, till she saw something
taking place on the river which seemed to take all the strength out of
her legs, for she dropped upon her knees now with her lips moving fast,
but not a sound was heard.

The next minute she was hurrying again to the river-bank, towards which
a man was thrusting the stern of the long narrow barge which had been
passing with the heavy long boathook, which had been used to draw poor
Ned out of the water as soon as he had risen to the surface.

Cook reached the bank with the child in her arms just at the same moment
as the man, who leaped off the barge, carrying Ned, whose eyes were
closed and head drooping over the man's shoulder.

"Oh, my poor darling boy!" wailed Cook.  "He's dead--he's dead!"

"Not he, missus," cried the bargeman.  "I hooked him out too sharp.
Here, hold up, young master.  Don't you cry, little missy; he's on'y
swallowed more water than's good for him.  Now then, perk up, my lad."

Poor Ned's eyes opened at this, and he stared wildly at the man, then,
as if utterly bewildered, at Cook, and lastly at Tizzy, who clung
sobbing to him, where he had been laid on the grass, streaming with

"Tiz!" he cried faintly.

"Teddy!  Teddy!" she wailed.  "Oh, don't die!  What would poor Mamma

"Die?" he said confusedly.  "Why--what?  Here," he cried, as
recollection came back with a rush, "oh, Tizzy, don't say you've lost
the kite!"

"Lost the kite!" cried Cook, furiously now.  "Oh, you wicked, wicked
boy!  What will your Mar say?"

"As she was precious glad I was a-comin' by," said the man, grinning.
"There: don't scold the youngster, missus.  It was all an accident,
wasn't it, squire?  But, I say, next time you climb a tree don't you
trust them poplars, for they're as brittle as sere-wood.  There: you're
all right now, aren't you?"

"Yes," said Ned.  "Did you pull me out?"

"To be sure I did."

"Then there's a threepenny-piece for you," said Ned.  "I haven't got any

"Then you put it back in your pocket, my lad, to buy something for your
little sis.  I don't want to be paid for that."

"You wait till his poor Mar comes home," cried Cook excitedly, "and I'm
sure she'll give you a bit of gold."

"Nay," growled the man.  "I've got bairns of my own.  I don't want to be
paid.  Yes, I do," he said quickly; "will you give me a kiss, little
one, for pulling brother out?"

Tizzy's face lit up with smiles, as she held up her hands to be caught
up, and the next moment her little white face was pressed against a
brown one, her arms closing round the bargeman's neck, as she kissed him
again and again.

"Thank you, thank you, sir," she babbled.  "It was so good of you, and I
love you very, very much."

"Hah!" sighed the man, as he set her down softly.  "Now take brother's
hand and run home with him to get some dry clothes.  Morning, missus.
He won't hurt."

He turned away sharply and went back to his barge, from which he looked
at the little party running across the meadow, Cook sobbing and laughing
as she held the children's hands tightly in her own.

"And such a great, big, ugly man, ma'am," Cook said to her mistress,
when she was telling all what had passed.

The tears of thankfulness were standing in Mrs Lester's eyes, and
several of them dropped like pearls, oddly enough, just as she was
thinking that the outsides of diamonds are sometimes very rough.



Jem could not walk any farther; his ankle was badly hurt, there was no
doubt of that, and, brave little lad though he was, his heart sank
within him, for he knew all the consequences which might ensue from such
a disaster.  It was not the pain that daunted him--Jem would have
scorned the imputation; neither did he fear to spend a night in the
forest--he could sleep under a tree as soundly as in his own bed under
the rafters of his Father's cabin.  It was warm dry weather, and he had
a hunch of bread in his pocket; there was nothing therefore to be afraid
of except Indians, and his Father said there were none in the
neighbourhood at present.

Jem's mind would have been quite easy on his own account, but he was on
his way through the forest to a village on the farther boundary to
obtain some medicine for his sick Mother, which the doctor had desired
she might have without fail that very night.  Our hero, though but
eleven years old, had just finished a long day's work, and it was
already dusk, but he loved his Mother dearly, and gladly volunteered for
the ten-mile walk to fetch the medicine; he did not even wait to eat his
supper, but, putting it in his pocket to munch on the way, trotted off
on his errand.

Jem's Father was a small farmer, who had built his own log cabin and
cleared his own fields, with no other assistance than that of his little
son; this was, however, by no means small, for frontier boys are, of
necessity, brought up to be helpful, hardy, and self-denying.  Jem
therefore felt his life of incessant labour and deprivation no hardship:
he was as happy and merry as the day was long.  But the misfortune that
had now fallen upon the brave little man was so severe and unexpected,
he did not know how to bear it.  The thought of the dear, suffering
Mother waiting patiently for the medicine which would relieve her, and
of the anxious, careworn Father, who would look so vainly along the
forest track for his return, was too much for his affectionate little
heart; so, leaning his arms against a tree, he dropped his head upon
them and sobbed bitterly.  Then, struggling up, he made another attempt
to walk, for he knew he had accomplished more than half the journey, but
the injured foot would not support him, and the attempt to stand caused
him the sharpest agony.

"It is of no use--I _cannot_ stand," groaned Jem half-aloud, as,
resolving to make the best of circumstances, he sat down, settled his
back against a tree, and munched up his hunch of bread.  Then he said
his prayers, with the addition of a special one that God would make his
dear Mother better without the medicine, and prepared to wait with what
patience he might till morning, when he knew that some fur traders or
hunters would surely be passing along the track, who would give him the
assistance he needed.  One thing Jem was determined about: he would not
go to sleep.  He set himself to count the stars which peeped through the
leaves above his head, and listened to the occasional stir of birds and
squirrels in their nests.

He knew and loved them all, and they on their parts knew that Jem never
stole birds' eggs or merry baby squirrels, as the other boys did.

"It is only Jem," they would say when they saw him coming, and they
never thought of hiding from him.

But somehow Jem did not get very far in his counting of the stars--they
danced about too much, his head _would_ drop down, and his eyes would
_not_ keep open.  It is not easy for a tired little boy of eleven years
old to keep awake at night, and so in a very few minutes Jem was fast

It seemed to him that he had scarcely closed his eyes when a slight
noise caused him to open them, and then he was wide awake in a moment,
for, with a thrill of horror, he became aware of two Indians standing
close beside him in the strange pale-green light of early dawn.  As they
silently gazed down upon him his heart seemed to stand still, and his
next impulse was to cry out, but he had learned to keep his wits about
him, and remember that even an Indian has a certain respect for a manly
spirit.  So he sat up and boldly returned the gaze of the fierce black
eyes--but at the same time he had heard too many tales of the cruelties
practised by Indians on their captives not to realise the danger he was

The younger of the red men was already fingering his hatchet, whilst he
muttered some hostile words which boded no good to our hero, but the
elder, who appeared to be a man of some importance, silenced his
companion with a gesture, and then, crossing his arms, said, in musical,
broken English: "My young brother is abroad early."

"I was going across the forest to get medicine for my Mother," replied

"But the medicine-man of the palefaces does not live in the forest,"
returned the Indian.  "Where does the Mother of my brother live?"

"In the clearing of the entrance to the west track.  It was nearly dark
when I started and I fell and hurt my leg, so that I can go no farther."

"Hu," exclaimed the Indian, kneeling down, and taking Jem's injured foot
gently in his hand.  "Then my brother is the son of the good paleface
woman who tended Woodpecker when he was sick, and made him well again?"

"Are you Woodpecker?" exclaimed Jem gladly.  "My Mother has told me
about you."

The Indian nodded, and, tearing a strip from his blanket, he dipped it
in a spring of water which was near at hand, and bound it firmly round
the boy's swollen ankle.  "The Mother of my young brother is very sick?"
he inquired.

"Yes," replied Jem, "and she is waiting for the medicine, and I cannot
fetch it."  He winked bravely to keep back the tears which filled his
eyes at the thought.

"Woodpecker will fetch the medicine.  Woodpecker owes a big debt to his
paleface sister, and Indians have grateful hearts," said the red man

Jem eagerly held out to him a piece of paper, but Woodpecker shook his

"My brother shall speak himself to the medicine-man," he said, and,
raising the boy on his broad shoulders, he strode away quickly towards
the village.  It was scarcely daylight and no one was yet stirring, or
the sight of an Indian carrying a white boy would have excited some

The doctor's sleepy assistant, who hastily answered Woodpecker's loud
rap on the door, rubbed his eyes and stared, but he had a wholesome awe
of such a visitor, and, making up the medicine, delivered it to Jem with
unusual speed.

The second Indian had disappeared on the way to the doctor's, and the
two strangely-matched companions immediately set out on their return
journey through the forest, which was rapidly traversed by Woodpecker,
and by four o'clock in the morning he set Jem down on the threshold of
his Father's door.

"Will you not stay and see how Mother is?  Father would like to thank
you," said Jem.

"Not now," replied Woodpecker, taking with a grave and courteous smile
the small hand extended to him, "but say to my good white sister that
her Indian brother does not forget kindness and that Woodpecker will

And as the farmer, roused by the sound of voices, opened the door, the
tall figure of the red man disappeared into the forest.  Jem was made
happy by finding his Mother better when, after having explained matters
to his Father, he was carried in and placed on the bed beside her.  And
after they were both recovered he had many a grand day's hunting with
the friendly and grateful Indian, who had taken a great liking for the
brave little lad, whom he ever afterwards caused his tribe to respect as
his English brother Jem.



  Ducklings big and ducklings small,
  This is how we feed them all--
  Yellowbill and Featherbreast,
  Speckletail, and all the rest:--

  On sweet meal they dine and sup--
  Oh, how fast they eat it up!
  'Tis indeed a pretty sight--
  Soon the bucket's empty quite.

  "Quack!" when dinner is begun;
  "Quack!" they say when it is done;
  Though it wasn't known before,
  "Quack's" a duckling's word for "more."

  Then the pretty feathered things
  Tuck their heads beneath their wings,
  Just as if for rest inclined,
  Quacking: "How well we have dined!"

  Later on, at evening cool,
  You will find them in the pool;
  Yellowbill and Featherbreast,
  Speckletail, and all the rest!



The winter had set in early, and with unusual severity, when I reached
Logville, the appropriate name given to the little mining camp which hid
itself away in the vast wilderness of the Rocky Mountains.  A roving
disposition, combined with a love of sport, and a desire to put on
canvas some record of the wonderful scenery of the locality, had guided
my steps to this out-of-the-world spot.

One morning when the winter was beginning to break, and the snow to show
signs of disappearing--sure evidence that the severe weather was passing
away--I slung my cloak and a bag of provisions across my shoulders,
seized my rifle, and set forth on a solitary stroll.  I had gone some
considerable distance from the camp when a sudden darkening of the sky
told me only too plainly of an approaching storm.  Fearful of being
caught in the downpour, I began to retrace my steps.

Scarcely had I commenced my homeward journey when a sudden cry caused me
to come to an abrupt standstill.  A few moments of intense stillness
followed.  I listened attentively, surveying the surrounding landscape
on all sides with the close scrutiny of an experienced hunter, who had
enjoyed many a lesson from the Indians.  The piled-up rocks, scanty
herbage, leafless and motionless trees gave no sign of life.  No sound
broke the intense solitude.  Then, with startling suddenness, another
cry, louder and more agonising than the former, echoed across the waste,
and this was followed by a deep significant growl.

I knew at once that the voice was that of a human being, and I knew
equally well that the growl proceeded from a bear.  I had heard that a
big "grizzly" had been seen in the neighbourhood, and that a party had
been organised to track him to his lair, but had failed to come to close
quarters with the wily old fellow.

As these thoughts shaped themselves in my mind there came a shrill and
piercing shriek which set every nerve in my body tingling.  It was the
scream of a woman in mortal terror.

I shouldered, my rifle and turned in the direction from which the sounds

Descending a steep cliff, I found myself in a narrow canon through which
a mountain stream, swollen by the melting snow, rushed with considerable
rapidity.  The first object that caught my eye was a woman carrying a
child and struggling through the foaming torrent.  Then I observed, some
little distance to the rear, but following with incredible rapidity, an
enormous black bear.  He measured at least nine feet from his nose to
the tip of his tail, and was broad in proportion.  Though of enormous
size, he progressed at a speed which was surprising.  Something had
evidently irritated the brute considerably, for his whole appearance was
characteristic of unrestrained ferocity.

I dragged the panting fugitive from the water and, without asking any
questions, advanced to the bank of the stream and prepared to take aim.
Whether my gentleman had at some period of his life been so closely
associated with the barrel of a sporting-rifle that he understood the
significance of my movement, I know not; but certain it is that as soon
as I raised the weapon, the bear first of all reared himself on his hind
quarters, displaying his long narrow muzzle adorned with an assortment
of ugly fangs, and then uttering a loud noise, curiously resembling the
heavy breathing of a human being, he fell down on all-fours and
retreated behind a convenient boulder, over the top of which his little
eyes gleamed fiercely every now and again.

The woman, who proved to be the wife of the innkeeper at whose "hotel" I
was sojourning, was shivering with the cold, and her wet garments were
rapidly congealing in the keen frosty air.  Her little girl was crying
pitifully with the cold and fright.

It was a question whether I should remain and finish off Bruin or hurry
my companions homeward at a fast trot.  I decided to adopt the latter

"The bear can wait," I said, as I turned away; "I'll settle him another

We turned our steps in the direction of the camp, and for some distance
walked in silence.  Then of a sudden a plaintive moan from the child
reminded me that the wee mite and her mother, soaked with wet, were, in
the cutting air, rapidly assuming the condition of living icicles.
Fortunately I had a flask with me, and, telling the exhausted and
shivering woman to sit down, I rested my rifle against a stump of a tree
and proceeded to prepare a dose of brandy, at the same time cheering her
with words of encouragement.

"We are not far from home now," I said, "and--"

I did not finish the sentence, for a movement behind caused me to turn
round.  To my utter astonishment and horror I found myself face to face
with my old friend, or rather enemy.  He had evidently followed with
stealthy steps, the snow acting as a carpet to deaden his heavy

My first idea was to give the intruder a dose of cold lead, but that I
soon discovered was out of the question, for the bear had calmly
appropriated my rifle, which lay beneath his paws.

It seemed to me indeed that his ugly face bore a look of triumph as he
crouched over the weapon, and, judging from the blinking of his eyes, he
seemed humanly conscious that, having become possessed of my trusty and
deadly friend, he had me completely in his power.  To obtain possession
of the weapon was out of the question; it would have been fatal to
attempt it.

Motioning the woman to seize the child and hurry forward without me, I
prepared to rout the enemy by some means other than powder and shot.
What means I intended to adopt I frankly admit I had not the remotest
idea.  The incident, so unexpected, so strange, took me completely by
surprise, and it was some moments before I recovered my senses and
presence of mind.  Then I remembered that grizzlies, despite their huge
bulk and ferocious tempers, are curiously alarmed by noise.

I had even heard that they had been driven off, with their tails between
their legs, by the mere beating of a tin can.  With this idea in my mind
I hastily produced the metal cup of my flask, and striking it furiously
with the hilt of my hunting-knife, I continued to produce a din which
ought to have taken effect upon my four-footed adversary.  I am sorry to
say it did not, however.  Uttering the curious sound peculiar to
grizzlies, the brute made as though it would approach still closer.

The bear was somewhat lean after his long winter's sleep in some hole
scooped out of the earth, whither he had retired with a substantial
coating of fat upon him, as a protection against the chills of winter.

The nap had gradually reduced the thickness of this protection and now
the hungry animal, weary of search for berries and roots, contemplated
me with a look which seemed to express that a morsel of something more
substantial would not be out of place.

I commenced to retire cautiously, but I had not taken many steps when
there came a flash, followed by a sudden report, and I staggered and
fell on my knees--shot in the leg.

The bear had accidentally pulled the trigger of my gun, and the bullet
intended for him had found instead a billet in poor me.  I tried to
staunch the wound with my handkerchief, but the blood flowed freely, and
I soon began to feel exhausted.

I felt my knees quivering and giving way beneath me, and a deadly
faintness crept over me.  A mist came over my eyes, and I seemed to sink
into a deep sleep, the landscape slowly vanishing, and even the big bear
standing up before me disappearing in the darkness which enveloped

The rescuing party sent in search discovered me, still breathing, the
thick snow into which I had fallen having congealed over my wound and
stopped the flow of blood.

The bear had fled without touching me, the report of the rifle having
apparently proved too much for his nerves.  He did not live long,
however, for the following day he was tracked to his underground home,
and there despatched.  His skin is among my most cherished trophies, and
I never look at it without remembering my first and last encounter with
a grizzly.



Little Kirl kept the goats on the mountain.  Little Kirl was very
little, his legs were very short, his body was very round and chubby,
and he could certainly not have overtaken an active and badly-disposed
goat, whatever had been the consequences.  So it was a fortunate thing
that they did not require much herding.  He had only to drive them to
the pastures on the mountain in the morning, and home again in the
evening, and the young ones followed the old ones, round whose necks the
tinkling bells were hung.

Little Kirl had only begun to keep the goats this summer, and he thought
when one has become a real live goat-herd one is in a fair way to become
a man.  How all the other little boys in the village must envy him--poor
things, not yet promoted to manhood!  And he had a crooked stick also,
and a little pipe on which he could really play several notes; and this
was the way he went up the mountain.

First there were the goats to be driven out of the gate, and what a
thing it was to walk after them, playing those three notes with
variations, and trying not to look too proud of himself!  It was not a
very large village, to be sure, the little cluster of brown chalets and
the tiny pink-washed church beside the pine-wood; but to Kirl it was a
whole world looking on and admiring.  He blew his three notes louder
with a more and more cheerful trill all down the street.  At the
cross-roads below the church the greatest caution had to be exercised to
keep the frisky kids from going the wrong way, but it was worth the
trouble.  Only think how well it looked to drive them close together,
and to fence them off, first on one side and then on the other, with the
crooked stick, and then, with an air as if he thought nothing of it,
turn them all successfully into the narrow path, and strike up the three
notes more gaily than ever!  It was the pride of Kirl's heart to count
the goats up in a business-like manner, and call them by name, and shout
"thou" to them, as if he were quite hard-hearted, instead of loving them
with all his might.

There was one goat in particular that was the pride of Kirl's heart; she
was not more than a kid, and snowy white, with a beautiful little head
and a bright eye, a credit to any man's herd.  How little Kirl loved
her!  He called her Liesl, as if she had been his sister.  The path led
upwards first through the pine-woods, with moss a foot deep on either
side, where the wood was damp with the dividing arms of the stream, and
the moss on the trees hung in solemn grey clusters, like banners
swinging from the branches.  And then the path grew steeper and runnels
of water dripped down the rocks, all covered with ferns and saxifrage.
Down below on one side lay the rushing stream and the valley where the
village was, and up above on the other side rose the great mountains,
dark with pine-woods about their feet and glittering with snow upon
their heads.

Little Kirl loved the mountains.  He had been born under their shadow,
and perhaps it was this that made him wander up them as far as he dared
go, for they seemed to draw him to them.  Some day--it was such a
tremendous thought that little Kirl kept it quite to himself, deep down
in his mind--but some day, when he had got beyond even herding the
goats, he meant to become a guide.

The way up the mountain hitherto for little Kirl ended in the grassy
pasture where the goats stayed.  Here was a pleasant slope thick with
globe-flowers and narcissus at the lower end, and fragrant with wild
thyme at the upper ridge, where the precipice began.

And now this is the story of little Kirl and the goats.  For it was at
this place one hot day in July, when little Kirl sat clasping his knees
and looking up at the mountain-tops, that he was suddenly wakened from
his dream by seeing Liesl perched on the extreme edge of the precipice.
It was a spot to which the goats were not allowed to go, for,
sure-footed though they were, it was crumbling and unsafe.  And there
stood Liesl, the flower of the flock, her pretty snowy figure against
the dark-blue sky.  Even as little Kirl leaped up and called her, she
threw up her graceful head as if in pride.

And then there came the most dreadful thing that had ever happened in
little Kirl's life.  Exactly how it was he could not afterwards
remember, but all in a moment Liesl, who could perch herself, as it
seemed, on nothing at all, pretty, sure-footed Liesl was over the edge!
Little Kirl threw himself down on his face in an agony, and peered over
the edge, calling and screaming wildly in his despair, for there was no
hope of saving poor Liesl.  But yes, there was!  Down there she had got
her fore-foot on a ledge below the brink, and was fighting and
scrambling to regain her foothold.  The loose stones were slipping away
under the pretty tufts of "student roses" that grew amongst the shale,
and poor Liesl was slipping away too, down and down.

She was staring up at him with imploring eyes, with a look that seemed
to call aloud for help.  But little Kirl had got her.  It was not for
nothing that little Kirl's eyes were so steady when they looked in your
face and his face was so square about the chin, however much he smiled.
Those stout little arms were clinging to neck and leg as if the owner of
them would be dragged over the ledge himself before he would leave poor
Liesl to her fate.  Let her go?  No!  _That_ was not the way little Kirl
kept his charge; _that_ was not the way of men on the mountains.

But Liesl was not light, and Kirl was only little, and his breath came
and went, and his eyes saw nothing, and the world was whirling round,
and a great sob burst from him.  And then a big, big voice said: "Thou
little thing!  Thou little, good thing!"  And two big, big arms came
downwards and caught little Kirl and Liesl up together into--oh, such
blissful safety!  And little Kirl stood clinging to somebody; and what
happened next he did not know.  Careless, ungrateful Liesl only shook
herself and frisked off, with a little squeal of relief, to join the
older and wiser goats.

But little Kirl, when he next knew what he was doing, found that he was
crying and sobbing uncontrollably, and big Kirl, the tallest, handsomest
man in the village, was patting his shoulders, and soothing and
consoling and praising him.  And yet more--big Kirl, one of the best
guides in the canton, whose fame had gone far abroad, by whom it was an
honour to be noticed at all, said, and little Kirl heard it with his own
ears: "Na, if I had not seen it, I would not have believed it!  But yes,
I saw it, and I saw also in days to come the little man will make such a
guide of mountains as Switzerland may be proud of!"



  An old Crocodile
  Once lived near the Nile,
  Whose teeth began useless to get, oh!
  But he cried with delight:
  "I shall dine well to-night
  Now of teeth I have got a new set, oh!"



"Harry Moore's a milksop," said Bob decidedly.

"Why?" asked his sister.  "I thought you liked him."

"So I did," answered Bob, "but I hadn't found out what a stupid he was."

"And how did you find it out?" asked Maud.

"Well, I'll tell you," said Bob.  "Last Saturday, you know, we had a
paper-chase, and the track was over the bog meadows down by the river.
Harry Moore and I were last, and all of a sudden he stopped and said: `I
can't go over these fields.'  I asked him why not, and he said they were
_too wet_."  Bob uttered the last words very contemptuously.

"Well?" questioned Maud.

"Well, I told him he was a little milksop and had better go home, and he
went, and I haven't spoken to him since, although I met him and his
little sister and brother with their go-cart this morning.  I don't care
about being friends with milksops," Bob added frankly.

"Of course not," Maud agreed.

"Oh, bother this rain," said Bob impatiently.  "It's going to be wet
this afternoon.  What shall we do?"

"Come here, children," said their Grandfather, from his chair by the
fireside.  "I will tell you a little story to while away the time."

The old man had been sitting with his eyes closed, and the children
thought he was asleep.  But he had heard Bob's anecdote.

Grandfather's stories were always interesting, and the children were
glad to forget the weather in listening to one of them.

"I was thinking just now," said their Grandfather presently, "of a great
and good man, who is now one of the greatest officers in the army.  I
want to tell you a little incident that happened when we were schoolboys
together.  We were three years together, then he left, and I have never
seen him again, for his life has been spent in foreign lands.  He was
some years older than I, and I daresay he soon forgot the little fellow
who used secretly to look up to him and worship him.  But now I must
tell you why he became my hero.  One day a party of boys had arranged to
walk to a place four miles distant, where there was to be a meet of the
hounds.  I wanted very much to go; I joined the party as they set out on
their expedition.  There were six boys, all older than myself, one of
them being the handsome, clever fellow whom even then I thought superior
to all the rest.  Well, it was a good long walk, over fields and hedges
and ditches.  I had some trouble to keep up with the others, for you
must remember I was a very small boy then, and once, in jumping a ditch,
I gave my ankle a little twist which made it still more difficult to go
along fast.  However, no one noticed me, and I was determined not to be

"At last we came to a large field, where some cattle were grazing which
we had to cross.

"`There's a mad bull in this field,' said one of the boys; `he chased
Farmer Jones the other day.'

"`We can run for it,' said another coolly, `if he comes after us.'

"Now, I knew I could not run with my sore ankle, and the idea of the
bull terrified me.  `Can't we go another way?'  I asked.

"Fear must have been written on my face, for some of the boys burst out

"`Little Morrin's afraid,' said one mockingly.  `Sit down under the
hedge, dear: then the bull won't see you.'

"`Go on,' said another; `never mind the little milksop.'

"But my hero, the biggest and strongest of all, looked at me kindly and
said: `Is anything the matter, little Morrin?'

"And, reassured by his kind tones, I told him I had hurt my foot a
little, and did not think I could run.

"`Get up on my back then,' said he, and, before I could say a word, he
stooped down and lifted me up with his strong arms, then strode on as

"The others began to taunt and mock me.

"`Let him alone, you fellows,' said my champion.  `He's a plucky little
chap to come at all with such pleasant companions as we've been.'

"We got through the field without attracting the attention of the bull.
The place of the meet was just beyond, and we were in good time to see
the gay scene.  We went back by a different road, and my hero made them
all march slowly so that I might be able to keep pace with them.

"It was a little thing, was it not, Bob?  I say: a little thing.
Perhaps you will hardly believe that one little act of kindness altered
my whole life.  It taught me lessons which I might never have learned
otherwise.  It showed me how we can help one another by the simplest
kindness and sympathy.  All through my life his influence has helped and
encouraged me--though, as I tell you, I never saw him again."

"Is that all, Grandpa?" asked Maud.

But Bob did not speak.  He was thinking of what he had said about Harry

"I think," he said to Maud that evening, "I'll just ask Moore why he was
afraid of the wet fields.  Perhaps he's delicate, or perhaps he'd
promised not to go."

"Grandfather's hero wouldn't have called him a milksop," said Maud

"No," answered Bob, "and I wish I hadn't; but then, you know, I hadn't
heard about Grandfather's hero."



When the Headmaster sent for Gray Minor, on receipt of a telegram from
his home, the boys were in great consternation, because they all
regarded him as a "ripping good fellow."

"I wonder what's up," said one, and this speech expressed the feeling of
every boy.  Then Gray Minor appeared, white, but determined, and told
them that, his widowed Mother being suddenly ruined, he would have to
leave the school at once.

"I say, Gray, you're such a chap for experiment, perhaps you'll see your
way out of this fix; but, all the same, it's jolly hard lines on you,"
said his greatest chum, wringing Gray's hand.  The boys expressed their
grief in different ways, but each was equally sincere, and Gray Minor
departed, universally regretted.

Mrs Gray sat by the fire of the little cottage parlour, a black-edged
letter lying idly between her fingers.  Very pale, she had the
appearance of one who had passed many sleepless nights.  Outside, the
November sky was overcast, the rain was coming down in torrents, and
sad-looking people picked their way down the muddy lane under streaming
umbrellas to the railway-station.

Suddenly, a quick, firm footstep sounded on the little garden path, and
a boy's round face smiled in at the diamond-paned window like a ray of
bright sunshine.  Mrs Gray almost ran to the door.  "Bernard, you must
be drenched!" she cried.

"No, Mother, not a bit of it," he laughed, taking off his streaming

"It is such a dreadful day," she said, but her face had brightened
astonishingly at the sight of her brave boy.

"Yes, but it has put a scheme--a grand scheme in my head!  Wait until I
get my wet togs off and I'll tell you."

"An _experiment_?--already! oh, Bernard!"  Mrs Gray laughed with actual
joy: her faith in her only son was so unquestioning.

As Bernard came downstairs, the faithful old servant was carrying in a
substantial tea for her young master.  "Hullo, Dolly," he cried; "I
haven't stayed up the remainder of the term, you see."

"Ah, Mr Bernard, it's well you take it so lightly--but it's black ruin
this time and no mistake.  My poor mistress has been fretting night and
day over it.  Whatever is she to do?"

"Trust herself to me," said Bernard valiantly.

Dolly laughed.  "Why, you ain't sixteen, Mr Bernard, and not done with
your schooling.  But, as parson said, so strange-like, on Sunday, for
his text--`the only son of his mother and she was a widow'--you're all
she has left."

When Mrs Gray and her son were alone she told Bernard the whole history
of their misfortunes.  An unfortunate speculation on the part of their
trustee had left them almost penniless.  "There is nothing left to us,"
she said, "but this little cottage and seventeen pounds in the cash-box.
But, Bernard," she added, "I grieve over nothing but your school.  You
had such a brilliant future, and so many friends."

"Oh, but there were to be so many new fellows next term--nearly all my
chums were to leave, so don't grieve over that," answered Bernard,
ignoring her words about his future.  Then he explained his

"I have decided," he said, "to sweep a crossing."

"Sweep a crossing!  Ah, that is what so many people say, but they would
never do it when it came to the point."

"It's what I mean to do," said Bernard quietly.  "It's an inspiration,
Mother, I assure you.  You say this cottage is freehold, is it not, and
worth--how much?"

"I have been offered one hundred pounds for it, but it is too near the
railway, and too much out of repair to be valuable."

"We shall do better than that.  Do you know how many people go down this
road daily to the station since all those new villas were built?"

Mrs Gray shook her head.

"Five hundred, and the place is growing like--well, like old boots.
Now, Mother, this is my scheme.  You know how bad the approach to the
station is.  You know, also, that the new asphalt path from the new
blocks of houses comes to our very garden gate.  Well, people can come
so far without muddying their boots.  Now, our garden abuts almost on
the railway-platform, so I propose sweeping a path straight across from
the road, putting up a gate at each end, and saving people five hundred
yards of quagmire, and a good five minutes in time, and a lot of
swear-words, and my charge for all these improvements will be one

The next morning, at half-past seven, the new path of forty yards was
swept from end to end, some of the palings were pulled down near the
railway-bank, and another small path swept up to the platform.

An old door was placed lengthwise over the front gate and painted white,
and on it, in somewhat clumsy printing, was the announcement:--"Quickest
way to Endwell Railway-Station.  Dry all the way.  Admission, one

About eight o'clock the business men came hurrying along under their
umbrellas, for it was still drizzling.  They looked at Bernard in a
curious way and then at the signboard, but they scarcely grasped the
situation, and plunged heroically into the five hundred yards of mud.

At nine o'clock a wealthy stockbroker came panting along, late for his
train; so Bernard shouted to him: "Come my way, Mr Blunt; it will save
you five hundred yards and all that horrid mud!"

"Hullo, Gray; back from school?" he gasped.  "What's the idea, eh?"

So Bernard told him his scheme in as few words as possible.

"Then I'll be your first patron, my boy," and Mr Blunt held out a
shilling.  "There's your first capital."

"Only a penny," laughed Bernard, pushing back the kind hand, and
pointing to his signboard.

"Oh, we are proud," said Mr Blunt.  "Well, I wish you luck!  Through
you I shall catch my train, and it means a little matter to me to the
tune of three hundred pounds."

A week after this, scores of people went through Bernard's garden
morning and evening, and the whole place rang with his plucky
experiment.  "Four pounds, five and sixpence for the first week, Mother;
but we will do better yet," said Bernard.

Many people came through the gates from sheer curiosity, and nearly
everyone preferred paying him the penny toll, instead of walking the
five hundred yards of uneven road, even on dry days!  In the following
spring, Endwell suddenly grew into such an important place that the
railway company was compelled to enlarge the station, and a director
being informed of Bernard's experiment, and the distinct value of a
shorter approach, came to see Mrs Gray about her little property, but
she would not be "talked over" by the smart director.  Then an
enterprising builder came, and made a very tempting offer.  Still she
resisted.  At last, however, the railway people offered a price which it
would have been folly to refuse, so Bernard was forced to give up his

Mrs Gray now lives in a pretty flat in South Kensington with her
faithful old Dolly, surrounded by many of her former luxuries, but she
is happiest in the possession of such a brave and noble son.  Bernard's
future is assured, for he showed all the qualities that command success
in his last _experiment_.



  Toby's the most famous clown,
  In the country or the town;
  Never was a laugh so ringing,
  When the children hear him singing!

  See, he stands upon two legs,
  With his hat for coppers begs;
  Do you think that you, if you
  Were a dog, as much could do?

  Little maid and little man,
  Throw him all the pence you can!
  When perhaps he'll show you how
  He says "Thank you," Bow! wow! wow!



It was getting very near Christmas-time, and all the boys at Miss Ware's
school were talking excitedly about going home for the holidays, of the
fun they would have, the presents they would receive on Christmas
morning, the tips from Grannies, Uncles, and Aunts, of the pantomimes,
the parties, the never-ending joys and pleasures which would be theirs.

"I shall go to Madame Tussaud's and to the Drury Lane pantomime," said
young Fellowes, "and my Mother will give a party, and Aunt Adelaide will
give another, and Johnny Sanderson and Mary Greville, and ever so many
others.  I shall have a splendid time at home.  Oh, Jim, I wish it were
all holidays, like it is when one's grown up."

"My Uncle Bob is going to give me a pair of skates--clippers," remarked
Harry Wadham.

"My Father's going to give me a bike," put in George Alderson.

"Will you bring it back to school with you?" asked Harry.

"Oh, yes, I should think so, if Miss Ware doesn't say no."

"I say, Shivers," cried Fellowes, "where are you going to spend your

"I'm going to stop here," answered the boy called Shivers, in a very
forlorn tone.

"Here--with old Ware?--oh, my!  Why can't you go home?"

"I can't go home to India," answered Shivers.  His real name, by the
bye, was Egerton--Tom Egerton.

"No--who said you could?  But haven't you any relations anywhere?"

Shivers shook his head.  "Only in India," he said miserably.

"Poor old chap; that's rough luck for you.  Oh, I'll tell you what it
is, you fellows: if I couldn't go home for the holidays--especially
Christmas--I think I'd just sit down and die."

"Oh, no, you wouldn't," said Shivers; "you'd hate it and you'd get ever
so homesick and miserable, but you wouldn't die over it.  You'd just get
through somehow, and hope something would happen before next year, or
that some kind fairy or other would--"

"Bosh! there are no fairies nowadays," said Fellowes.  "See here,
Shivers: I'll write home and ask my Mother if she won't invite you to
come back with me for the holidays."

"Will you really?"

"Yes, I will: and if she says yes, we shall have such a splendid time,
because, you know, we live in London, and go to everything, and have
heaps of tips and parties and fun."

"Perhaps she will say no," suggested poor little Shivers, who had
steeled himself to the idea that there would be no Christmas holidays
for him, excepting that he would have no lessons for so many weeks.

"My Mother isn't at all the kind of woman who says no," Fellowes
declared loudly.

In a few days' time, however, a letter arrived from his Mother which he
opened eagerly.

"My own darling boy," it said, "I am so very sorry to have to tell you
that dear little Aggie is down with scarlet fever, and so you cannot
come home for your holidays, nor yet bring your young friend with you,
as I would have loved you to do if all had been well here.  Your Aunt
Adelaide would have had you there, but her two girls have both got
scarlatina--and I believe Aggie got hers there, though, of course, poor
Aunt Adelaide could not help it.  I did think about your going to Cousin
Rachel's.  She most kindly offered to invite you, but, dear boy, she is
an old lady, and so particular, and not used to boys, and she lives so
far from anything which is going on that you would be able to go to
nothing; so your Father and I came to the conclusion that the very best
thing that you could do under the circumstances is for you to stay at
Miss Ware's and for us to send your Christmas to you as well as we can.
It won't be like being at home, darling boy, but you will try and be
happy--won't you, and make me feel that you are helping me in this
dreadful time.

"Dear little Aggie is very ill, very ill indeed.  We have two nurses.
Nora and Connie are shut away in the morning-room and to the back stairs
and their own rooms with Miss Ellis, and have not seen us since the dear
child was first taken ill.  Tell your young friend that I am sending you
a hamper from Buzzard's, with double of everything, and I am writing to
Miss Ware to ask her to take you both to anything that may be going on
in Cross Hampton.  And tell him that it makes me so much happier to
think that you won't be alone.

"Your Own Mother.

"This letter will smell queer, darling: it will be fumigated before

It must be owned that when Bertie Fellowes received this letter, which
was neither more nor less than a shattering of all his Christmas hopes
and joys, that he fairly broke down, and, hiding his face upon his arms
as they rested on his desk, sobbed aloud.

The forlorn boy from India, who sat next to him, tried every boyish
means of consolation that he could think of.  He patted his shoulder,
whispered many pitying words, and, at last, flung his arm across him and
hugged him tightly, as, poor little chap, he himself many times since
his arrival in England had wished someone would do to him.  At last
Bertie Fellowes thrust his Mother's letter into his friend's hand.

"Read it," he sobbed.

So Shivers made himself master of Mrs Fellowes' letter and understood
the cause of the boy's outburst of grief.

"Old fellow," he said at last, "don't fret over it.  It might be worse.
Why, you might be like me, with your Father and Mother thousands of
miles away.  When Aggie is better, you'll be able to go home--and it'll
help your Mother if she thinks you are almost as happy as if you were at
home.  It must be worse for her--she has cried ever so over this
letter--see, it's all tear-blots."

The troubles and disappointments of youth are bitter while they last,
but they soon pass, and the sun shines again.  By the time Miss Ware,
who was a kind-hearted, sensible, pleasant woman, came to tell Fellowes
how sorry she was for him and his disappointment, the worst had gone by,
and the boy was resigned to what could not be helped.

"Well, after all, one man's meat is another man's poison," she said,
smiling down on the two boys; "poor Tom has been looking forward to
spending his holidays all alone with us, and now he will have a friend
with him.  Try to look on the bright side, Bertie, and to remember how
much worse it would have been if there had been no boy to stay with

"I can't help being disappointed, Miss Ware," said Bertie, his eyes
filling afresh and his lips quivering.

"No, dear boy; you would be anything but a nice boy if you were not.
But I want you to try and think of your poor Mother, who is full of
trouble and anxiety, and to write to her as brightly as you can, and
tell her not to worry about you more than she can help."

"Yes," said Bertie; but he turned his head away, and it was evident to
the school-mistress that his heart was too full to let him say more.

Still, he was a good boy, Bertie Fellowes, and when he wrote home to his
Mother it was quite a bright every-day letter, telling her how sorry he
was about Aggie, and detailing a few of the ways in which he and Shivers
meant to spend their holidays.  His letter ended thus:--

"Shivers got a letter from his Mother yesterday with three pounds in it:
if you happen to see Uncle Dick, will you tell him I want a `Waterbury'

The last day of the term came, and one by one, or two by two, the
various boys went away, until at last only Bertie Fellowes and Shivers
were left in the great house.  It had never appeared so large to either
of them before.  The schoolroom seemed to have grown to about the size
of a church; the dining-room, set now with only one table, instead of
three, was not like the same; while the dormitory, which had never
before had any room to spare, was like a wilderness.  To Bertie Fellowes
it was all dreary and wretched--to the boy from India, who knew no other
house in England, no other thought came than that it was a blessing that
he had one companion left.

"It is miserable," groaned poor Bertie, as they strolled into the great
echoing schoolroom after a lonely tea, set at one corner of the smallest
of the three dining-tables; "just think if we had been on our way home
now--how different!"

"Just think if I had been left here by myself," said Shivers, and he
gave a shudder which fully justified his name.

"Yes--but--" began Bertie, then shamefacedly and with a blush, added:
"you know, when one wants to go home ever so badly, one never thinks
that some chaps haven't got a home to go to."

The evening went by; discipline was relaxed entirely, and the two boys
went to bed in the top empty dormitory, and told stories to each other
for a long time before they went to sleep.  That night Bertie Fellowes
dreamt of Madame Tussaud's and the great pantomime at Drury Lane, and
poor Shivers of a long creeper-covered bungalow far away in the shining
East, and they both cried a little under the bed-clothes.  Yet each put
a brave face on their desolate circumstances to each other, and so
another day began.

This was the day before Christmas Eve, that delightful day of
preparation for the greatest festival in all the year--the day when in
most households there are many little mysteries afoot, when parcels come
and go, and are smothered away so as to be ready when Santa Claus comes
his rounds; when some are busy decking the rooms with holly and
mistletoe; when the cook is busiest of all, and savoury smells rise from
the kitchen, telling of good things to be eaten on the morrow.

There were some preparations on foot at Minchin House, though there was
not the same bustle and noise as is to be found in a large family.  And
quite early in the morning came the great hamper which Mrs Fellowes had
spoken of in her letter to Bertie.  Then just as the early dinner had
come to an end, and Miss Ware was telling the two boys that she would
take them round the town to look at the shops, there was a tremendous
peal at the bell of the front door, and a voice was heard asking for
Master Egerton.  In a trice Shivers had sprung to his feet, his face
quite white, his hands trembling, and the next moment the door was
thrown open, and a tall, handsome lady came in, to whom he flew with a
sobbing cry of: "Aunt Laura!  Aunt Laura!"

Aunt Laura explained in less time than it takes me to write this, that
her husband, Colonel Desmond, had had left to him a large fortune, and
that they had come as soon as possible to England, having, in fact, only
arrived in London the previous day.

"I was so afraid, Tom darling," she said, in ending, "that we should not
get here till Christmas Day was over, and I was so afraid you might be
disappointed, that I would not let Mother tell you that we were on our
way home.  I have brought a letter from Mother to Miss Ware--and you
must get your things packed up at once and come back with me by the
six-o'clock train to town.  Then Uncle Jack and I will take you
everywhere, and give you a splendid time, you dear little chap, here all
by yourself."

For a minute or two Shivers' face was radiant; then he caught sight of
Bertie's down-drooped mouth, and turned to his Aunt.

"Dear Aunt Laura," he said, holding her hand very fast with his own,
"I'm awfully sorry, but I can't go."

"Can't go? and why not?"

"Because I can't go and leave Fellowes here all alone," he said stoutly,
though he could scarcely keep a suspicious quaver out of his voice.
"When I was going to be alone, Fellowes wrote and asked his Mother to
let me go home with him, and she couldn't, because his sister has got
scarlet fever, and they daren't have either of us; and he's got to stay
here--and he's never been away at Christmas before--and--and--I can't go
away and leave him by himself, Aunt Laura--and--"

For the space of a moment or so, Mrs Desmond stared at the boy as if
she could not believe her ears; then she caught hold of him and half
smothered him with kisses.

"Bless you, you dear little chap, you shall not leave him; you shall
bring him along and we'll all enjoy ourselves together.  What's his
name?--Bertie Fellowes.  Bertie, my man, you are not very old yet, so
I'm going to teach you a lesson as well as ever I can--it is that
kindness is never wasted in this world.  I'll go out now and telegraph
to your Mother--I don't suppose she will refuse to let you come with

A couple of hours later she returned in triumph, waving a telegram to
the two excited boys.

"God bless you, yes, with all our hearts," it ran; "you have taken a
load off our minds."

And so Bertie Fellowes and Shivers found that there was such a thing as
a fairy after all.



Crawley Major was talking very impressively in the great class-room of
Felton College.  Even the few slow boys who were still mumbling over
their Latin grammar for next day had one ear pricked up to hear what he
was saying.  "I'll tell you what it is," said Crawley Major, addressing
them generally: "the Doctor is in a furious wax, and he will be pretty
free with his canings and impositions to-morrow.  I just happened to be
taking a message to Barclay, when he comes fussing in, not seeing me,
and just _swells_ up to Barclay, _purple_ with rage.  `Somebody has had
the boat out on the river again, Mr Barclay,' he says, `notwithstanding
my orders and all the fines and punishments I have imposed, and I'm
determined to find out who it is.'  Then he saw me and turned purple
again.  `Now, Crawley, you have heard what I said, and you can just
return to the class-room and tell your companions that I shall come down
in half an hour, and I intend to have the truth about that boat if I
have to keep every boy in the school under punishment for the next
month;' so here I am."

"Oh, stop that, Crawley," said a bright, handsome lad, who was standing
on the table so as to get a better view of the proceedings.  "The
Doctor's not often in a wax, and it's no joke when he is.  I didn't
think there was a fellow in the school would have touched the boat after
what he said last time."

All the boys hurled themselves at the table from which Haggart had been
giving out his opinions, and there was a general shout of: "No!"

"It _must_ be all right," said Haggart again.  He was looking carelessly
round, and he suddenly caught sight of a frightened face a long way
beneath him.  "Don't be in such a funk, Harry," he said good-humouredly.
"It will all come right in the end!  The Doctor's awfully hard
sometimes, but he's always just--eh, Crawley?"

"He canes you first, and he's just afterwards," said Crawley grimly.

The little boy shivered, and, when he tried to speak, his teeth
chattered.  "Does--does he cane very hard?"

"Oh, dear, yes," said Crawley mischievously; "you don't forget it for
some days, I can tell you!  Just look at little Parker," he went on,
pointing to the child's terrified face: "wouldn't any unprejudiced
person think he had done it himself?"

"Oh, no, no," cried the boy angrily, "how dare you say so?  How could I?
What would I want with a boat?"

"Reserve your defence for the Doctor, sir," said Crawley impressively.

Something in the boy's piteous eagerness had attracted Haggart's
attention, and he turned and looked at him sharply.  His eyes were wide
open and had a terrified look, and his thin lips were trembling, his
small childish hand was fidgeting with the buttons of his coat.

First, a breath of suspicion came to Haggart, and a great rush of pity
and contempt; then, as the child's eyes seemed to rise unwillingly to
his, the secret leaped from one heart to the other, and he knew.  His
lips curled disdainfully, and he jumped off the table, hustling his
little band of followers out of the way.

"There's the Doctor," he said; "let me pass."

All the boys stood up as the master majestically moved over to the
fireplace and kicked the logs into a blaze.  Then he faced round
suddenly, and spoke in his peculiarly clear, decisive tones.  "There has
been an act of great disobedience perpetrated here during the last
twenty-four hours," he said.  "Crawley overheard me speaking on the
subject to Mr Barclay, and has probably told you what it is.  I had, as
you all know, given strict orders that the boat was not to be taken on
the river by any of the boys, and this morning it was found outside the
boathouse tied to a stake.  There is no doubt that one of my boys did
this, and the only reparation he can make is to own his fault at once,
and take the punishment!"

There was dead silence.

One heart in the room was beating like a sledge-hammer against the Eton
jacket that enclosed it, but no one spoke.  Only Haggart turned his
head, and looked again at the fourth-form boys, and as if they were
under a spell, the grey eyes, full of terrified entreaty, were lifted to
his.  He tried to forget the look.  He wished he could make that foolish
chap understand that a caning was nothing, after all!  All fellows worth
their salt got caned at school.  Well, after all, he had to take his
chance with the others, but he wished he would not keep looking across
at _him_ in that beastly way, as if _he_ had the keeping of his

"Well?" said the Doctor.

But no one spoke.

"I am sorry," said the Doctor more quietly, "that the boy who did it has
not had the courage to own up, but I will give him another chance.  I
will take every boy's separate answer, and, after that, the whole school
will be kept in the playground until the end of the term, unless the
guilty boy will take the punishment on himself."

Haggart's face was very anxious as he, too, leant forth to see the
fourth-form fellows, but all he could catch a sight of was a smooth,
fair head that had drooped very low.

The Doctor, with a disappointed face, turned to the senior class.  "It
seems hardly necessary to go through the form," he said.  "I think I can
count on my senior boys.  You, Crawley?  You, Brown?  You, Haggart?"

"I did it," said Haggart, in a clear, loud voice, and the Doctor's
outstretched finger fell.

"You, Haggart--_you_?" he said, in an incredulous voice.  "Impossible!
You?" said the Doctor again.

"Yes, sir."

"Then there is nothing more to be said--_now_.  Only, I am surprised,
and--disappointed.  You can go now; you will sleep to-night in the small
spare room, and I will see you to-morrow.  Go!"

Haggart moved slowly to the door, and as he turned the handle, he heard
a noise, and then the Doctor's voice, speaking sharply: "What is that?
What are they doing on the fourth form?"

"Harry Parker has a fit, or he's dead, or something," said a scared

"No, he has only fainted," said Mr Barclay.  "Take him to Miss Simpson,
Barclay," said the Doctor.  "He is a delicate little fellow."


"Wasn't there a fellow called something Curtius, who saved a city once?"
said a first-form boy, in a whisper.

"Yes; he leaped into a gulf."

"Well, that's what Haggart's done," said the boy.

"Rot!" said the other boy, still whispering.


Nothing seemed very clear to Haggart's mind as he slowly undressed in
the cold, unused room.  His brain was worried and confused.  He wished
he could have had the light of the Doctor's clear mind upon it, but, of
course, that was impossible.

"If he _is_ waxy, he's always just," he found himself saying out loud;
and then, just before he went to sleep, "but, at any rate, I can bear it

There is no need to dwell upon the weeks that followed.  Haggart took
his punishment bravely enough, but that time was always, in after-life,
a hideous memory to him.  To be unloved, untrusted, solitary, and
despised, to be coldly disbelieved or contemptuously contradicted, was
so very hard to bear!  But, with a strange and sickening sense of dread,
he found himself longing, most of all, to hear of Harry--to know if he
were sorry, or remorseful, or only thankful to be spared!  Then, at
last, in some roundabout way the news came to him.

Harry had been taken ill with brain fever the very day after the
tragedy, and had been sent home; and it gave Haggart his first moment of
conscious happiness to realise that he had perhaps saved the poor, weak,
little, trembling creature from one night of fear and anguish.

The boys were always kind to him in their peculiar way.  There seemed to
be a bewildered feeling in their minds of cruelty and injustice, and
they were glad that he had not stuck out to the last and included the
whole school in the punishment; so sticks of liquorice, and jam-tarts,
and even white mice, were secretly conveyed to his desk as tokens of
friendship; but, although Haggart was grateful for the attentions, he
could never quite shake off the longing to make a clean breast of it to
the Doctor, and get his troubled mind set straight.

But one morning before the holidays a thrill went through the whole
school when the Doctor stood silently for a minute after prayers and
then in his peculiarly quiet voice called to Haggart to come forward.

"Boys," he said, "I have had a letter this morning from Harry Parker's
Mother, and she says that he has told her the truth about the boat.  He
has been very ill, poor child, and, in his delirium, it haunted him that
Haggart had suffered for his sake.  Let him be cleared before you all
from the unjust suspicion.  But, Haggart," and he laid his hand very
kindly on the boy's shoulder, "you must remember that the injustice came
from _you_--no one would have doubted you if you had not first accused
yourself!  I had my doubts always, but I did not know enough to
understand.  You told a lie; nothing can palliate or do away with that!
No _motives_ can make a lie anything but a lie, and a lie is always a
cowardly thing, whether we try to shield ourselves with it or others.

"But the kindness which prompted it, the courage that bore the
punishment so bravely, the silence that has made a false heroism out of
it--these are fine qualities, Haggart, and I hope you will carry them
with you through life."

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Brave and True - Short stories for children by G. M. Fenn and Others" ***

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