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Title: Wilton School - or, Harry Campbell's Revenge
Author: Weatherly, Fred E.
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 "Wilton School - or, Harry Campbell's Revenge" ***

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[Frontispiece: "His eyes were greedily fixed on the book; then he would
write a little, then look again, then write again.  He was
cribbing."--WILTON SCHOOL, page 33.]



WILTON SCHOOL:

OR,

HARRY CAMPBELL'S REVENGE.

A Tale.



BY

FRED. E. WEATHERLY, B.A.,

AUTHOR OF "MURIEL, AND OTHER POEMS."



EDINBURGH:

W. P. NIMMO, HAY, & MITCHELL

1872



[Transcriber's note: In the original book, each page had its own
header.  In this e-book, each chapter's headers have been collected
into an introductory paragraph at the start of that chapter.]



TO

My Little Brothers,

ALFRED, ARTHUR, HERBERT,

LEWIS, AND CECIL,

I DEDICATE

THIS TALE.



CONTENTS.


CHAP.

     I.--A LONG GOOD-BYE
    II.--WHY THE SAD GOOD-BYE WAS GIVEN
   III.--SAD INFORMATION
    IV.--WILTON SCHOOL
     V.--MOTHER AND SON
    VI.--INJURED INNOCENCE
   VII.--A BOY FIGHT AT SCHOOL
  VIII.--FRIENDS IN MISFORTUNE
    IX.--HARRY PUT ON TRIAL
     X.--SUNLIGHT
    XI.--MOVING HOME
   XII.--BULLYING
  XIII.--FLIGHT
   XIV.--AT SLEEP AT LAST
    XV.--THE BITERS BIT
   XVI.--BLEWCOME'S ROYAL MENAGERIE
  XVII.--THE LOST FOUND
 XVIII.--FATHER AND SON
   XIX.--AT WILTON ONCE MORE
    XX.--AVENGED AT LAST



ILLUSTRATIONS


"His eyes were greedily fixed on the book; then he would
  write a little, then look again, then write again.  He
  was cribbing." . . . . . . . . . _Frontispiece_

"'Leave him to me,' said Warburton, a tall ungainly boy of
  fourteen, as boy after boy was eager to take the quarrel
  to himself."

"There he was, safe on the ground at last."

"He never uttered a word, but ate his breakfast, and enjoyed
  it thoroughly."



WILTON SCHOOL


CHAPTER I.

A LONG GOOD-BYE.

Gathering shadows--Harry's wonder--Ambiguous--A long good-bye--The
anchor's weighed.


It was a sad evening in the little farm by the church of Wilton, yet
very sweet and summer-like without.  Very sad it was in the low, dim,
oak-panelled parlour, whose diamonded window looked across the quiet
churchyard, with its swinging wicket, its gravel-path beneath green
aisles of lindens, and all the countless

  "Grassy barrows of the happier dead."

Very sad were those three sitters in the summer twilight, there, at the
farm; for a good-bye had to be said--a long, long farewell between that
weeping pale woman, and the stout sailor, her husband.  And Harry,
their blue-eyed, sunny-haired boy, did not understand what it all
meant;--why papa did not cheer mamma with hopes of soon coming home
again--why mamma did not try to console herself by saying, over and
over, that he would soon come back, as she always used in the old days
when papa had to go to sea.  She had never cried so bitterly before,
although these good-byes had come so often.  And now it made her cough;
she seemed scarcely to have strength to cry.  And papa, who was always
so brave and stern, why was it even he could not stop the tears from
rolling down his bronzed cheeks?  And so Harry sat in the window-seat,
quite unable to understand the meaning of all the sorrow, and looked
out of the window at the farmer's wife nursing her last baby in the
orchard, and then at the old sexton in the churchyard throwing up the
red earth, and wondered why he always whistled such a jovial tune,
while he himself felt so sad.

And the evening drew on over the straggling village, weary with its
long day's work.  The last loaded waggon had passed down the lane by
the farm; the last troop of tired hay-makers had trudged gaily
homewards; and with the deepening dusk the winds grew cooler, blowing
in fresh, along the valley, from the sea.

And, all this while, poor Harry sat with his face pressed closely
against the window-pane; and his papa and mamma, apparently unheeding
him, sat talking in the far dim corner of the room, while ever anon her
great sobs broke the train of comforting words her husband strove to
utter.

Presently, he got up, moved to the window, and without saying a word,
took Harry's hand and led him across the room to his mother's side.
Then his faltering lips said:

"Harry, my boy, mamma is going away soon--before I come back;--I shall
not see her again."

"Not see her again, papa?" cried Harry in amazement.  "And why is mamma
going away, with her cough so bad, too?"

"Mamma's cough won't trouble her long, my boy.  You'll take care of her
for me, won't you, Harry? and see her safe off on her journey?"

He spoke very quietly now; but if he had not used those ambiguous
sentences, he would have broken down, he knew.

And then the good-bye was said.  He kissed Harry tenderly, and then
gathered his weeping wife to his breast.  And with an earnest "God
guard you!" that well-nigh seemed to break the bursting heart from
whence the words arose, he moved quickly from the room.  So it was all
over now!  The long good-bye had been said.

"Take care of her and the boy, Mrs Valentine," he said to the farmer's
wife, as she came hurrying up from the orchard to see him before he
left, "and God will reward you.  It will not be for long, I fancy.  The
boy must stay with you till I come back."

"I will, I will sir; bless her dear heart!" the farmer's wife cried,
while the tears started to her eyes.  "Poor soul, poor soul!" she
murmured after him, as he passed bravely down the lane, villagewards.

And there, in the little farm by the church, sat the pale wife weeping
over her wondering boy, while the shadows of the summer night stole
ghost-like over the lands, till the window was but a faint dim square
in the sad darkness that was within.

That night the Queen's good ship "Thunderer" weighed anchor from the
roadstead where she had been lying off Wilton, and with canvass
stretched, and engines at full speed, swung down the Bristol channel on
the ebb tide, to join the flying squadron on a six months' cruise.  And
though many a heart, of seamen and officer alike, felt heavy at parting
from sweetheart or wife, in none was there the dull, hopeless agony
that dwelt behind the stern face of Chief-engineer Campbell, as he
talked on deck with his fellow-officers, or issued his orders to his
men below.



CHAPTER II.

WHY THE SAD GOOD-BYE WAS GIVEN.

In commission--At home in Malta--After long years--Settled at
Wilton--Unwelcome tidings--Unavailing skill.


Fourteen years ago, amid the mists of Scotland, there was a bonny
wedding at a hill-side kirk; the bride, a sweet young English girl, who
had left her southern home to pay a visit to her uncle, the old
village-pastor; the bridegroom, a stout sailor, home from sea for a
short while at his native village.  And after a six weeks' happy
wooing, a happy wedding took the two away, far from the heathery hills
and the mountain lochs; far from the moors and fells of Scotland.

A brief honeymoon of quiet, unmarred happiness, and Alan Campbell
received instructions to join his ship, ordered to Malta for three
years.  His wife, of course, could not sail with him, so he took a
berth for her in one of the ordinary passenger steamers that run from
Southampton to the island.  And after seeing her safe on board one
rainy April afternoon, her tearful face itself like April weather, he
took the evening mail-train to Plymouth, and the following morning was
on board his ship.  It was not long before his impatience was
gratified, and the "Thunderer" steamed out into the English Channel.

Thus over the great waves, through time of sun and stars, through storm
and shine, sailed the two parted many miles of heaving sea; Minnie,
pale and trembling in her little cabin, with the noise of the waters
ever sounding in her sleepless ears; Alan pacing to and fro in the heat
and throbbing of the engines of the "Thunderer."

It was a joyful meeting at the island-fortress in the blue
Mediterranean.  Alan obtained leave to sleep on shore, and took a
little white cottage that overlooked the bay, where the good ship
"Thunderer" lay at anchor; and there, at her outhanging window, every
evening Minnie would sit, looking so anxiously across the bay towards
the great black hull of the vessel, till a gig would put off that
brought Alan home to her.

So the days and weeks went on.  The spring died into the summer's
flowery lap; the summer ripened and mellowed unto the golden autumn;
and when the year's late last months were come, there was another
inmate in the little cottage by the bay; another pair of eyes, blue as
the mother's, to greet Alan as he came home at night; another pair of
hands to hold and call his own.

The time ran as quickly as it ran happily.  The three years passed, and
again Alan had to put his wife on board a passenger steamer bound for
England--this time with her boy Harry to bear her company, a sturdy
young gentleman of somewhat over two years; while he himself sailed for
Plymouth in the "Thunderer."  And so it came to pass, that after many
such changes of abode, and many voyages over the dangerous waters,
twelve years from the date of their marriage, they came to Wilton.
They found lodgings at Mrs Valentine's farm, near the old church--a
strange contrast after the home on the blue waters of the
Mediterranean, but a very nice contrast withal.  And it seemed, at
last, as if poor Mrs Campbell had found a climate that suited her, and
that put new life and strength into her failing, fragile form.  For
those happy and treacherous nights, spent in looking over the bay at
Malta for her husband's home-coming, had sown the seeds of a
consumption, that each month now seemed to be increasing its wasting,
rapid strides.

Yet at Wilton she seemed revived and better than she had been for long;
and Alan grew more cheerful and hopeful that, if God pleased, her life,
with care and watching, might be spared.  So he took rooms at the farm
for a length of time; sent his boy, now grown into a young image of his
stout father, to a grammar-school in the village, and determined that,
as the place agreed with her so well, Minnie should make it her home,
even when he went to sea.

And once more their happiness lost the cloud of doubt and anxiety that
for long had been hanging over it.  But the dream was soon to be snapt.

One evening Alan came home to find his wife much worse than she had
ever been.  He learnt the cause.  She had been sitting with a sick
person, and from the hot, sickroom had passed out into the damp evening
air.  And this was the result.

The village-doctor was sent for at once; and when, on the next morning,
Alan anxiously, tremblingly, asked him the candid truth, it was with an
open letter in his hand, with which his fingers nervously played.  It
was marked "On Her Majesty's Service."  He must hold himself in
readiness to sail within a fortnight.  And the doctor's answer was a
fearful crowning to this unexpected tidings.

"She may linger on for a month," he said, "six weeks at most.  You will
have to bid her good-bye for ever when you go.  No skill can make her
live till you come home."

Alan never uttered a word, but his face was very pale, and a great
shudder passed over his frame.

"It is very, very sad for you," said the little doctor, "I pity you
from my heart."  And then he jolted away down the lane in his shaky
trap, drawn by his broken-winded pony.

And Alan turned into the farm, and was soon by his wife's side.

So the fortnight passed, and the good-bye was said; and this is why
that good-bye was so unutterably sad; and this is all that Harry could
not understand.



CHAPTER III.

SAD INFORMATION.

Mother and son--Returning fortitude--Self-devoted.


It was drawing close upon the half-yearly examination at the Grammar
School, and Harry was beginning to grow very frightened and nervous,
for a new boy had been put into his class since the last examination,
and he feared the newcomer would supplant him, and get to the head.

So, as soon as the sad good-bye, told of in the first chapter of this
little tale, was said, and Harry had tried in vain to comfort his
mother, he got his books and set to work.  And the clock ticked, and
Harry pored over his delectus; and in the corner Mrs Campbell sat and
wept.

Presently she called Harry to her.

"Harry, dear, I am better now; I won't cry any more.  Come and sit by
me."

And so Harry went.  And then she talked quietly to him about his work
at school, and how she hoped that one day he would be able to go to
Oxford.  It was well for her, poor thing, she had these little
makeshifts for conversation.  That which lay nearest her heart, was now
too much well-nigh for words to express.

"You are young now, dear boy, but still old enough to know that your
after-life depends on yourself; and if you work steadily on, you can
win a scholarship."

"What is a scholarship, mamma?"

"A sum of money, dear, which is allowed you every year while you are at
Oxford, to help to pay your expenses.  Because, you know, papa couldn't
afford to pay all the money it would cost while you were there."

"And why couldn't you pay it, mamma?"

"I shall not be here then, dear boy," said Mrs Campbell, very softly.

"But you will be wherever I am, mamma."

"I shall be sleeping in the churchyard, darling boy; over yonder, under
the tall, grey tower."

Harry burst out impetuously:

"No, you shan't die, mamma!  Why should you die?  I won't let you go!"

And Harry sobbed as though his heart would break.  For his sake, Mrs
Campbell seemed to win strength and quietness.  And taking him gently
by the hand she led him upstairs to bed, sat by him till he was heavily
asleep, his face all stained with tears, and then went wearily
downstairs again, took her writing desk, and began a letter to her
husband.



CHAPTER IV.

WILTON SCHOOL.

The examination--Wilton school--Harry's class-room--Absorbed--Prized
possessions--Too busy--Cribbing--Misplaced sympathy--Harry blushes.


The morning sun shone brightly over Wilton as Harry started to school;
brightly over the dancing waters of the roadstead; and the seawind sang
gaily through the wave-washed piles of the pier.  The school-bell was
ringing lustily as Harry passed through the iron gates into the
playground.  Everything was in bustle and confusion.  Bats and balls
were laid aside; jackets thrust on hastily; rough heads smoothed by hot
hands.  From their different house-doors the masters were emerging,
putting on, as they came, gowns, some brand-new, some rusty and worn.
The whole stream was setting in one and the same direction, towards the
doors of the school-buildings.  And by the time the bell's last clang
had ceased, masters and boys were duly assembled in their respective
places in the big school-room.  Prayers over, Dr Palmer announced, amid
breathless silence, the regulations respecting the examination, which
was unexpectedly to begin, in part, that morning.  Who does not
remember those anxious, nervous days, before the examination; the
anticipation worse, if possible, than the actual realisation; the
visions of questions unanswered, translations sent up full of mistakes,
sums that never would come out right, problems that never would be
proved?

For the first few days questions, to be answered on paper, would be set
to the whole school according to their respective work and classes.  On
the fifth day the examiner would arrive; he would commence at the
bottom of the school, and, taking two classes each day, examine them
_vivâ voce_.

This was the substance of Dr Palmer's speech; and then the business of
the morning began.

The different classes and their masters filed away into their
particular rooms, Dr Palmer and the senior form being left alone in the
big school-room.

The greater portion of the school-buildings, it should be stated, had
been converted some years ago from the remains of an old monastery.
Standing on a slight eminence, and backed by a deep belt of firs, broad
meadows sloped from it, straight down to a grey shingly beach, where
the boys used to bathe.  Three sides only had left their ruins behind;
and these were accordingly rebuilt, as closely after the original style
as was possible.  There was the shadowy row of cool cloisters, edging
the square smooth-shaven plot of grass, which no boy was allowed to
cross.  Then all round the building above the cloisters were various
class-rooms; and at the end of one wing stood the chapel, and at the
other, the big school-room.

Harry's class-room was in one corner, and consequently was darker than
most of the others; but this the boys liked in the summer; it was such
a contrast after the glaring sun that streamed in through the windows
of the big school-room.  And Harry's place, too, in the room, he
specially liked; close to the window, he could look out, through its
ivied frame, across the smooth green lawn, away down the meadows to the
distant sea.  And who can wonder that the sight of the heaving billows
brought thoughts of his father to him many a time and oft?  But many a
time, too, those dreams were snapt by the voice of Mr Prichard, his
master--

"Campbell, attend to your work;" or, "Campbell, don't look out of the
window;" or, when in a facetious mood, "Campbell, you cannot learn your
delectus by the light of nature."

But this morning, Harry was far too occupied to stare about.  Not that
he was thinking specially of what his mother had told him the night
before, that she would soon be gone away from him; childlike, he had
almost forgotten that, or at any rate the examination, for the time
being, absorbed his whole attention.  And like us all, he could not
realise the sorrow his mother's words conveyed.  Who of us, indeed,
does not feel, even when standing over the grave of some dear one dead,
even when decking the green mound with flowers--feel it is well-nigh
impossible fully to realise that those hands, now laid white beneath
the mould, will never again be clasped in ours on earth.  So it is no
wonder that Harry was in his usual good spirits; with this only
difference, that the examination into whose depths he had now plunged,
was filling him with nervous excitement and terrified interest.

Each boy had a desk and stool to himself, and to the little boys the
desk-key was a proud possession.  The sixteen desks were ranged in even
rows, Mr Prichard's being at the opposite end, it so happened, to
Harry's place.  By Harry sat Egerton the new boy, the dreaded rival;
and as they bent, side by side, over their desks, their pens and inky
fingers scrambling as hard as possible over their papers, many eyes
were turned upon them, to see which appeared to be getting on best.

Harry himself was too busy to take any notice of Egerton; and the
morning was half-gone, and he had scarcely looked from his desk.  But a
sudden impulse or wish to rest awhile, made him pause and lay down his
pen.  And this is what met his eyes.  Mr Prichard was standing with his
back to the boys, writing some directions on the class notice-board,
not hurrying himself, and quite lost in what he was doing.  He was an
absent man, was Mr Prichard.  All the boys were busy writing, or
scratching their heads (a process commonly supposed to assist
meditation), save one, and that was Egerton.  But he was not idle.  He
was busy, a great deal too much so.

In his lap lay an open book.  His desk, of course, concealed this from
Mr Prichard, and from the rest of the room, except Harry; who, as he
sat in the same row with him, alone could see; for Egerton's jacket,
carefully pulled forward, screened his proceedings from the boy on his
other side.  His eyes were greedily fixed on the book; then he would
write a little, then look again, then write again.  He was cribbing.

Harry was so thunderstruck that he stared open-mouthed at him.  Just
then he heard Mr Prichard's voice, sterner than usual: "Campbell, what
are you looking at, sir?"  Poor Harry's heart sank within him.  He
could not, would not, tell; that would be sneaking.  And yet he knew
from the way in which Mr Prichard spoke that he suspected him of
looking over Egerton's paper.  The fact was, Mr Prichard had turned
round suddenly, and catching Harry's eyes strained eagerly in the
direction of Egerton's desk, had naturally imagined that he, and not
Egerton, was taking an unfair advantage.  Those few words of his sowed
a crop of prejudice among the boys against Harry.  "Campbell's been
caught cribbing off Egerton," was what rose to the mind and lips of
all; and a sort of sympathy grew up in favour of the true culprit,
because it appeared that he had been the sufferer.

Naturally enough, there was a slight commotion in the room, and this
gave Egerton ample opportunity to hide his book by sitting on it,
or--but we must not anticipate.

Soon after, Harry finished his paper, folded it, and walked to Mr
Prichard's desk; in his hurry, leaving his own open at the time.  As he
handed in his work he said, stammering: "I wasn't looking at Egerton's
paper, sir; indeed I wasn't," and then blushed crimson.  Mr Prichard
said nothing, but looked very hard at him, and this made Harry blush
the more.  Then he went back to his desk (which he never noticed was
now closed), locked it, and sat quietly till the class was dismissed;
and shortly after was running home to his mother.



CHAPTER V.

MOTHER AND SON.

Very miserable--Past hope--Mother and son--Breaking
down--Resignation--"It is well."


The doctor's carriage with the broken-winded pony was standing at the
door of the farm.  Mrs Valentine had just come out, and was talking to
the doctor's little boy, who sat holding the reins.

"Hallo, Harry," he cried, "home from school?"

"Hush, Master Bromley, don't make such a noise!" interposed Mrs
Valentine.

Without taking any notice of Master Bromley, Harry exclaimed nervously
to Mrs Valentine--

"Is mamma worse, Mrs Valentine?"

"Yes, dear," the good farmer's wife answered; "you mustn't go in now.
She's very bad, indeed.  Mr Bromley is with her."

So Harry ran into the orchard, and sitting down under a tree, felt very
miserable.  His mamma was worse--was she really dying now?  The
terrible examination--he remembered her words about his work, and going
to Oxford.  What was he to do?  Was he to get leave from school, and
give up the chance of getting the prize, and stay at home with mamma
instead?  But wouldn't that vex her, and perhaps make her worse?
Besides, what use could he be at home?  Ah! but if she were to die when
he was away?  No, no; he could not go away and leave her.  He must stay
with her now!  The examination was nothing!

Such were the thoughts that coursed through Harry's brain; for though
only thirteen years old, he was, in point of mind, far beyond his
years, not in his school work, but in his ideas and feelings on general
subjects of every-day life; and the reason of this was his having had,
for so long, his mother as his only companion.

Presently Mrs Valentine came out to him.  Her eyes were very red, for
she had been crying.

"You can come in now, Master Harry."

"Mrs Valentine, is mamma dying?  What can I do?  She mustn't die.
Can't Mr Bromley do anything for her?" cried Harry.

"No, dear boy.  Mr Bromley can't do anything for her, poor dear; nor
any one else either, for the matter of that.  He can only make her
easier for the time, like."

"But will mamma die before papa comes home?"

"She may die very--very soon," sobbed Mrs Valentine.

By this time they were at the door, and Mrs Valentine left Harry to run
quietly upstairs to his mother's room.  He found her in bed, looking
fearfully white, saving two red hectic spots glowing in her wasted
cheeks.  Her hands were dry and hot; and when she began to speak, a fit
of coughing made utterance impossible.  Harry sat by the bedside, and
burst out crying.  After a few minutes, Mrs Campbell said in a low
voice, but so cheerfully--

"Well, Harry dear, how did the examination go off?"

"It's not over, mamma; and, please, don't talk about that.  Are you
really going to die, mamma?  Tell me, is it really true?"

"Yes, darling boy, I am really going away from you now, and soon,
too--very soon."

"What shall I do when you are gone, mamma?  How shall I----" and here
Harry fairly broke down; he could speak no more.

"Don't cry, Harry; it makes me so sad.  Don't you know I am going to
heaven, and there will be no pain there.  I shall not cough any more.
You mustn't cry so.  Tell me about school; I like to hear it all.  I am
not going to die to-day, darling boy.  We shall have a little longer
together.  Tell me about the examination."

How Harry longed to pour his story out to her, of Egerton and Mr
Prichard.  But he wouldn't do so now.  He would bear it by himself.  He
had run home so quickly, meaning to tell her all, and knowing she would
believe and pity him, and tell him what to do.  But how could he
distress her now?  So he only answered very quietly--

"I did the paper pretty well, mamma; I think; the examiner doesn't come
for two or three days; but--but--you won't be here--then," and back
came the memory of the fateful message, back came the fears at the
thought that he would be alone in the world then.

"How hot the room is," sighed Mrs Campbell.  "It makes me feel so weak."

"Ah! the air isn't like it was at Malta; is it, mamma?  You told me it
was so cool and sweet there; didn't you, mamma?"

"Yes, dear boy; but those cool winds have made me like this.  It was
sitting out, in the evenings there, that first gave me my cough.  But
it was God's will," she said half to herself, "and why should one look
to second causes?"

"Go and have your dinner, Harry dear or you will be late for school,"
she said to him.

"Must I go to school, mamma, and leave you?"

"Yes, dear," she answered, "it is far better for you to go, as usual.
They shall send for you if--if--  Go down now, dear," she added,
falteringly.

And when Harry hesitatingly left the room, Mrs Campbell turned her face
to the wall, and prayed to God, to guard the motherless child; to guard
the toilers on the sea; and then she thought of her girlhood, of her
bright, strong, healthy days; and then of her marriage in the ominous
Scotch mists, of the sojourning at Malta, of the journeyings to and
fro; and chiefly of her husband's love, and of her happy life; and from
the depths of her heart she thanked God for it all, and confessed that
it had indeed "been well."



CHAPTER VI.

INJURED INNOCENCE.

A surprise--Public opinion--Questioned--Circumstantial
evidence--Inexorable.


With a heavy heart Harry set out for school; but it was a walk of a
mile, and his spirits were very elastic; so that by the time he had
settled to his afternoon's work, all his old interest and excitement in
the examination had returned.  Again the class sat writing in their
corner-classroom, with busy fingers and hushed voices.

At half-past four Mr Prichard rose, contrary to his ordinary custom, to
collect the papers.  Harry had just opened his desk hastily for some
blotting paper, and as he took the piece from its wonted corner, what
was his astonishment to see Egerton's crib lying there.  As he was
making assurance doubly sure, that it really was the delectus-crib, he
felt a hand on his shoulder, and starting suddenly, found Mr Prichard
standing, looking over him into his desk.

"Give me your paper, Campbell," said Mr Prichard; "and that book!" he
added, sternly.

Harry's heart seemed to rise into his mouth.  He was too frightened to
utter a word, but gave up the book immediately with his paper.  The
whole affair had so astonished him that he scarcely knew whether he
stood on his head or his heels.

"Stay after school-prayers, Campbell," said Mr Prichard, as he passed
on, collecting the papers as he went.

Shortly after, the whole class rose, and many were the murmurs, "Sneak!
cribber!" that greeted Harry's burning ears as they all hurried along
towards the big schoolroom.

Poor boy! he felt in a sad strait, for he well knew how hard it would
be to clear himself.  However, the consciousness of his innocence gave
him a brave heart.  His mother had always told him that, no matter what
the consequences were, so long as his conscience told him he was in the
right, it was all well; and that seeming misfortunes would but work to
his final good.

Prayers over, Harry took up his position at Mr Prichard's desk.  It so
happened no boys were kept in that evening, so the rest of the masters
were soon gone; but somehow or other the room did not clear so speedily
as usual.  Harry's class especially was among the lingerers.  The
report had soon spread through the school.  And the boys (the younger
ones chiefly), always glad of a row when not themselves concerned,
stood peeping through the open doors.

"Leave the room at once, all of you," shouted Mr Prichard, "unless you
want an imposition?"

Waiting calmly and deliberately till the room was clear, and the doors
shut, while Harry longed, and yet dreaded for him to begin, Mr Prichard
turned and said--

"Well, Campbell, what have you to say for yourself?  This morning, I
catch you in the act of copying, or attempting to copy, from Egerton's
paper; and, now, this afternoon, I find you with a book in your
possession, which, you know, you have no business whatever to have.  I
suppose this will account for the correctness of your work during the
past half-year?  Do you feel very proud of your performance," he added,
sneeringly, "when none of it was your own labour or cleverness?"

Meek-hearted Harry was in tears long before this oration was concluded;
and the streaming face and crimson blushes only tended to confirm Mr
Prichard's conviction of his guilt.

"Please, sir, I wasn't copying off Egerton this morning," sobbed Harry;
"I wasn't copying off him; and it isn't my book.  It's--it's--it isn't
mine, sir!"

"It isn't yours, sir?" cried Mr Prichard, indignantly.  "Have you the
face to contradict me flatly, sir, and say the book does not belong to
you?  Whose name is that?" he cried, holding the delectus-translation,
open at its fly-leaf, to Harry.

And there plain enough it was--_Harry Campbell_.

"No, sir, no; it isn't mine," persisted Harry, through his tears.  "It
isn't mine.  I never saw it till this morning."

"You are only adding to your wrong conduct, Campbell," said Mr Prichard
very gravely.  "It is bad enough for you to take unfair advantage of
your school-fellows; but you make the whole matter ten times worse by
telling a deliberate falsehood.  The book is yours.  Your name is in
it."

In vain Harry protested his innocence; Mr Prichard remained inexorable.

"You will come with me to Dr Palmer to-morrow," and putting the book
into his pocket, he stalked from the room.



CHAPTER VII.

A BOY FIGHT AT SCHOOL.

Lynch law--At bay--Bully Warburton--Single combat--The deciding
round--Harry is victorious.


If Harry felt heavy-hearted when he started for home that afternoon,
what must he have felt now?  Deeper than ever he was plunged in the
trouble from which he knew not how to extricate himself.  His thoughts,
however, soon flew to his mother.  He knew that there he would find
comfort, that there, at least, he would be believed.  So carefully
wiping away all traces of his tears, and putting on as brave a face as
he could, he strapped his books together, and ran down the broad stone
stairs into the lobby.

For some time, however, he could not find his cap.  It did not need
much reflection to tell him what this meant or foreboded.  It was the
beginning of persecution.  But after rumaging about among the boxes
kept in the lobby, his patience was at length rewarded.  There, in a
corner, was the missing cap; but torn and dirty and much injured.
Nothing daunted, he cleaned it as well as he could, and, putting it on,
emerged into the play-ground.

Just as he was fairly in the open, walking quickly towards the gates,
and not looking about him, he heard a burst of voices that bore no
pleasant meaning; and then a body of tennis-balls flew all round
him--some hitting him smartly, some whizzing within an ace of him.

As soon as he had recovered from the first shock of his astonishment,
stung and bruised, he looked to see who were his assailants, and there
he saw about twenty boys, mostly of his own age and size, in fact,
belonging to his form; though several of the crowd stood out from the
rest, as older and bigger.

Harry's weakness was now turned to indignation.

"You beastly cowards!" he cried, "what have I done to you?"

"Thought to get the prize by cribbing, did you, you sneak?"

"I did not crib," shouted Harry, who had not stirred from where he was
first hit by the balls.

"You little liar, you did.  Give it him again," cried one of the bigger
boys; and then another shower of balls fell thick about him.

"I'm not a liar.  It's you're the liars, and the cowards too," he
cried, coming nearer the crowd; and then the boys, too, crowded nearer
to him.

"Do you mean to call me a liar?  Do you mean to call me a coward?"
cried one after the other--the bigger boys now being louder and more
threatening in their tones.

"Yes, I do," answered Harry, "if you say I cribbed, when I didn't.  And
you are cowards to all set on one."

"Leave him to me," said Warburton, a tall, ungainly boy of fourteen, as
boy after boy was eager to take the quarrel to himself.  "I'll teach
him.  Now, you young brute," he cried, advancing to Harry.  "Do you
mean to call me a liar and a coward?"

[Illustration: "'Leave him to me,' said Warburton, a tall ungainly boy
of fourteen, as boy after boy was eager to take the quarrel to
himself."--WILTON SCHOOL, page 52.]

"Yes, I do," persisted Harry, as Warburton came nearer, and shook his
fist in his face.  "It wasn't my crib; and you'd better not hit me!"

"Better not hit _you_," jeered Warburton; while the group echoed,
"Better not hit him, indeed!  Give him a good licking for his cheek,
Warburton; I would if I were you!"

Warburton's jeer was very forced, but the voices of the rest gave him
courage.  So he rushed at Harry.  The latter, however, seeing what to
expect, threw away his books, and then flew at Warburton, who, from
sheer astonishment at having actually to fight when he thought to
administer an easy licking, began the combat at rather a disadvantage.
Both hit very wildly at first, and not much damage was done.  Of the
two, Warburton was most out of breath, for he had been hitting
furiously at Harry, who, not being strong enough to ward off the blows
with his arms, had been forced to dodge and duck his head.

Presently they got into a corner close to the lobby-door, and Harry was
beginning to flag.  Not a word all this time had been uttered by the
on-lookers.  They would not back Harry; and to cheer on Warburton would
be ridiculous.  "Of course he would lick him all to pieces in a
minute," they said.

But the minute had been a good long one, and all in their hearts were
somewhat surprised.  Just then Egerton came up; and Harry could
scarcely believe his ears, when one voice alone came out of the crowd,
cheering him on, and saying, "Go it, Campbell!  Well fought!  I'll back
you, after all."  And the voice was Egerton's.

At that moment Warburton was making a furious charge at him, when Harry
stepped sharply aside, and gathering all his remaining force into one
blow, hit his foe on the jaw: at the same instant Warburton slipped,
and the blow and the false step terminated the fight, for he fell
violently through the open lobby-door upon the stone floor.

"Well fought, Campbell! well fought!" cried Egerton.

No one else uttered a word.

Waiting till Warburton was on his feet again, his mouth bleeding, his
face very crestfallen, Harry picked up his books, and shaking off
Egerton's congratulations and friendly words, for he felt he was far
more his enemy than Warburton, started home.

A good bathe in the lavatory set the mouth to rights; but Warburton was
utterly cowed, and had learnt a lesson, which the rest had learnt too,
that meek-hearted boys may bear a good deal of bullying, but that even
to their endurance there is a certain limit.



CHAPTER VIII.

FRIENDS IN MISFORTUNE.

Ominous words--A visitor--Harry breaks down--A confused story--What is
to be done?--In good keeping.


Harry reached the farm about six o'clock--later than his usual time,
and he knew his mother would be sure to inquire the reason; and,
besides, his hair was very rough, and there was a suspicious-looking
red mark on his left cheekbone.  However, he was no sooner inside the
house than he ran straight up-stairs to his mother.  Her bedroom door
was just ajar, and hearing a strange voice proceeding from the room.
Harry knew some one was with her; so he sat down on the stairs, hoping
that it would not be long before he might go in to see her.  His heart
was bursting to tell her all.  He could keep it a secret no longer.
To-morrow was the dreaded day when he was to be taken before Dr Palmer,
and what the punishment might be, he dared not think.  Expulsion,
perhaps: certainly the loss of his place in his class, and nothing
scarcely could be worse than that.  Poor boy, he was in ignorance (and
happily so) of the extent of the fault of cribbing.  Most boys would
have said: "I shall get a good caning, but I can get my crib again soon
enough."

It was a lady who was with Mrs Campbell; so Harry knew from the voice,
which was soft and sweet.  She was talking quietly to his mother about
her death; and as the words fell upon the silence.  Harry listened
eagerly for every syllable, nervous and trembling, and grew more
miserable as each minute stole wearily by.

"It wouldn't have been so hard to die," Mrs Campbell was saying, "if he
could only have been with me till the last.  Dear Alan!  I wonder where
he is now?"

"Yet think, dear Mrs Campbell, how he is spared the pain of seeing you
suffer," said the doctor's wife, for it was she.  "You love him well
enough, I know, to enable you to think this, don't you?"

"Oh, yes! yes!" answered the dying wife.  "God knows what is for our
good.  It may have saved him much pain and sorrow.  Dear Alan!" and her
voice grew very low.  She was talking half to herself.  Then, as the
new thought flashed across, she said again aloud, "But what will become
of Harry when I am gone, and Alan out at sea?"

And Harry, where he sat on the stairs in the deepening dusk, burst into
tears.  His mother's quick ears caught the sound of his sobs, and she
exclaimed:

"Why, there is Harry crying on the stairs?  Tell him to come in, will
you, Mrs Bromley?"

Harry needed no telling.  He was soon in the room, at his mother's
bedside, and clasped in her arms.

"Don't cry, Harry, darling," the weak voice said.  "Don't cry so!"

"You aren't really going to die, mamma?  What shall I do without
you?--all alone--and--and Dr Palmer won't believe me.  I know he
won't," sobbed Harry.

"Dr Palmer won't believe you?  What is it, dear? and what is the matter
with your face?  Oh, Harry, you haven't been fighting, have you?" she
added, and her voice bore shadow of reproach in it.

"Yes, mamma, I have," answered Harry, "but I didn't begin; they all set
on me, and shied balls at me, and said I cribbed, and called me a liar
and a coward, and I fought Warburton, and licked him," and then came
the English schoolboy's triumphant glance, through his tearful eyes.

"Said you cribbed?  When, dear?  How?" asked Mrs Campbell.  "Tell me
all about it."

And, then, when the two had at length succeeded in quieting Harry, he
began his story.  Through excitement, it was naturally very confused at
first, but, by degrees, he had made everything plain.

"But why don't you tell Dr Palmer that it was Egerton's crib? and all
that you saw in morning school?" said Mrs Campbell.

"Yes," chimed in the doctor's wife, "you can tell him you distinctly
saw Egerton using the book."

"That's no good, mamma," answered Harry, despondingly.  "He wouldn't
believe me.  He'd say I put it off on Egerton, because he was next me
in class."

"What _is_ to be done?" said Mrs Bromley.  "I quite see what the poor
boy means."

"Never mind, Harry, dear, tell the truth, as I know you will," said Mrs
Campbell, "and it will all go well with you.  Egerton will be found out
sooner or later, and Dr Palmer will be sorry if he has punished you for
nothing."

"I shall tell Mr Bromley to go and speak to Dr Palmer.  That horrid
boy, Egerton!  I could give him a good shaking!" said Mrs Bromley,
excitedly.  "And now, dear Mrs Campbell, I must go.  I will try and
send you round some grapes in the morning.  They will be so good for
your thirst.  I shall come and see you again soon.  Keep up," she
added, in a whisper.  "Think of what we have been saying.  God is but
calling you to a better country, and He will guard your motherless boy!"

"He will!  He will, I know!  Good-bye.  You are so good and kind to me.
Come again soon, won't you?"

"Come, Harry," said the doctor's wife, turning to him, "come down with
me, and Mrs Valentine will give you your tea."

"And ask her to bathe your face, dear boy," added Mrs Campbell, "and
put a vinegar pad on it."

And then Mrs Bromley, kissing her affectionately, led Harry from the
room, looking wistfully at his mother as he went.

"Ah, Alan, darling Alan!" she sighed, when she was alone in the silent
twilight of the room, "if you were only here, it would be so much
easier to die!  Just to say good-bye once more.  And you'll only see my
grave when you come home.  Oh, God," she prayed, "forgive me, and take
me to Thyself."  And then her words grew wandering.  "Scotland with
uncle Robert--how rough the waves are!--when shall we get to
Malta--Alan!  Alan! when will Alan come?--Alan, darling, don't be
long!--I am so tired!" and so she fell into a broken slumber.



CHAPTER IX.

HARRY PUT ON TRIAL.

The geography paper--Before Dr Palmer--The accusation--Sentenced--The
doctor's study--William's reminiscences--The doctor--Enter
Egerton--Punishment--A hasty summons--Heart-stricken.


Not a single word greeted Harry on his entering the playground the
following morning; neither was there any symptom of the persecution of
the previous evening.  No murmured words flung at him; no hissing; but
only a few stares of wonder, almost, at his recent achievement.  He was
treated as a mere cypher,--sent to Coventry in fact.  But this he did
not mind; it certainly was preferable to positive persecution; and as
he wished to keep calm for his coming ordeal, he was glad that nothing
ensued to cause another fight--a contingency he had been fully prepared
to expect.  Warburton scowled at him.  Egerton turned his face away as
they passed.  This, however, did not make the slightest impression on
Harry; he felt proud of his victory over the former, and despised the
meanness of the latter.

He was allowed to proceed with the examination; but his place had been
changed, and he now sat close to Mr Prichard.  The reason was evident,
and he asked himself wearily, as he bent over his paper, when would he
ever be set clear in the eyes of the masters and his schoolfellows?

Strangely enough, one of the questions (it was a geography paper) was,
"What do you know of Malta?"  Harry here felt at an advantage.  He
remembered, of course, nothing from his own experience; but he had
heard his mother's description, and as his pen ran quickly, echoing in
boyish language her words whom he loved so well, it is not much to be
wondered that his interest almost banished from his mind the memory of
his sorry plight.

But "like a dream, when one awaketh," he came back suddenly to a
recollection of how he was situated.  He was going to be put, as it
were, on trial, and the charge against him was a difficult one to
disprove.

Being a half-holiday, prayers were read at the end of morning-school.
And now the time was come.  Harry walked to Mr Prichard's desk, who
conducted him at once across the room to Dr Palmer.  The latter looked
over his spectacles, surprised.  Indeed, Harry had always been one of
the "model boys."

"What is the matter, Mr Prichard?" he inquired.  "Has Campbell been
misbehaving himself?"

"Yesterday morning, sir," answered Mr Prichard, "during the
examination, I detected Campbell deliberately looking over Egerton's
paper, who you know at present stands next to him in class."

"No, sir, indeed I wasn't," burst in Harry.

"Silence, sir!" sharply said Dr Palmer.

"Had this been all," resumed Mr Prichard, "I should have punished him
myself, severely, without troubling you; but, in the afternoon, as I
was collecting the papers, and passing close by Campbell's desk, which
was open at the time, I found this book in it," and he handed the
delectus-crib.  "And Campbell says--"

"It isn't mine, sir!" pleaded Harry.  "Some one must have put it there!"

"Silence, sir!" said Dr Palmer, sharply again.  "You will have to
answer presently.  Well, Mr Prichard?"

"Campbell makes the matter, as I told him, far worse by persistently
denying that he is the owner of the book.  And yet his name is in it."

"Campbell," said Dr Palmer, gravely, "this is a most serious charge
against you.  I had always thought you were an honourable boy.  You
always have been very industrious, and your work has been well done, as
I hear; but this matter alters the whole case.  It shows how one can be
deceived in a boy."

As he paused a moment, Harry broke in with the same denials he had used
before.  He could not yet bring himself to try his last resource of
affirming who was the rightful owner of the book, and he feared even
that would but make his case worse.

"Go into my study, and wait till I come," added Dr Palmer.

And Harry, knowing what that meant, went away trembling; for no boy on
the eve, or in the midst of, a caning, feels much consolation in a
consciousness of his innocence.

How he got to Dr Palmer's study he knew not.  The playground seemed so
very long, and the boys who crowded to watch him pass, to have doubled
or trebled their number.  And he was almost glad, if such a feeling is
compatible with his position, when he reached the room of horrors, as
the Doctor's sanctum really was to the boys; for none set foot therein
save those who were "in for a row."

Crossing the hall he met Dr Palmer's butler, an old man, most familiar
to everybody, who never even said "Sir" to his master; but then he had
known him from a boy.  So it is no wonder his greeting to Harry was so
blunt.

"What? 's that you, Campbell?  Well, to be sure!  In for a caning, I
s'pose.  What have you been and done now?"

"Nothing, William.  I haven't done nothing," sobbed Harry, regardless
of grammar.  "I'm going to be caned for nothing."

"Oh no! nothing at all.  That's what they all say, the young rascals,"
ejaculated William, half aloud, as he hurried away, partly about his
business, but chiefly because he didn't like the sight of the boy's
tears.

It made him think of the time when he used to steal apples (he would
tell them in the kitchen), and his mother used to hold him up by his
ears while his father thrashed him.

Harry had scarcely taken his seat upon the edge of one of Dr Palmer's
crimson-morocco-covered chairs when he heard the fatal footstep in the
hall, and the next moment the Doctor entered.

The first thing he did was to take down one of the canes that lay on
the top of the bookshelves, Harry narrowly watching him the while, and
then he said--

"Campbell, I am exceedingly sorry to be obliged to punish you."

Harry shivered; the doctor was a powerful man; and the cane looked very
lithe and lissome.

"But I cannot pass over such a serious fault, even though you have
always hitherto, so far as I have seen, conducted yourself well.  There
can be not the slightest doubt that the book is yours.  It was found in
your desk, and has your name in it."

"It isn't mine, sir.  I declare it isn't.  Some one must have put it
there; and I saw,"--and here Harry paused.

Dr Palmer looked at him narrowly.

"Some one must have put it there?  And do you mean to say, then, that
you accuse one of your schoolfellows, not only of putting it there, but
also of--"

Harry could endure no longer, and with excited and stammering tones, he
told the whole tale.

"This is a most serious charge for you to bring," said Dr Palmer,
laying down the cane and ringing the bell.  "Send Master Egerton here,"
he said, when William appeared.

After a pause of about three minutes, which seemed like an hour to
Harry, and during which not a word was uttered, Egerton entered, cool
and collected, and said respectfully to Dr Palmer:

"William said I was wanted, sir."

"Campbell tells me he saw you using this book,"--holding out the
delectus-crib--"in yesterday-morning school.  The conclusion, therefore
is, that it is yours, and that you put it into his desk.  What have you
to say to this, Egerton?"

"No, sir, I declare the book isn't mine," answered Egerton, positively,
and still quite coolly.  "I suppose Campbell's tried to put it off on
me, because I'm next him in class."

"Oh, Egerton, how can you say so!" ejaculated Harry.  "You know you
were using it."

"Ask Evans, sir; he sat on the other side of me," said Egerton.

Evans was sent for.

"No, he never saw Egerton using the book.  He sat close to him, and
couldn't have helped seeing if he was cribbing."

Egerton again positively and solemnly declaring he knew nothing
whatever of the matter, and Evans' evidence so far bearing him out, Dr
Palmer dismissed them both, and then turned to Harry.

"Campbell, you have now had every chance.  You have been detected in a
most dishonourable act, and you have added to your fault by telling a
lie.  Bend down," he concluded, taking his cane.

In vain Harry protested his innocence.  In vain he begged Dr Palmer to
believe him.  Twenty times the strong arm rose, twenty times the cane
whished through the air, and twenty times Harry felt the sting.  By the
time it was all over, he was perfectly numbed and stiff with pain.  But
the bodily suffering was nothing when compared with the mental agony he
felt at thus being punished when innocent.  His whole frame was
convulsed with sobs, and Dr Palmer was giving him a few words of
concluding rebuke, when a hasty knock came at the door; and William,
without waiting for the customary "Come in," hurried into the room, and
said in his blunt way:

"Campbell's wanted home.  His mother's bad."

Doctor Palmer's sternness and severity vanished in a moment.  So it was
always with him.  Strict as he was, severe as he was, directly the
punishment had been duly administered, he was kind-hearted and genial
to the culprit long before _he_ had recovered the effects of his
punishment.

"Campbell, your mother is ill."  He knew nothing more than that Mrs
Campbell was a confirmed invalid.  "Go and get your cap; I will come
with you.  Perhaps I can be of some use."

But Harry's heart was too stricken to accept those well-meant words;
and the sudden change in the Doctor made Harry say what at another time
he would never have dared to say.

"No," he sobbed.  "I'll go alone.  She doesn't want you.  She believes
me, and you don't.  She won't speak to _you_."  And he rushed from the
room, leaving the doctor far too affected and moved to attempt to stop
him or call him back.



CHAPTER X.

SUNLIGHT.

Ministering friends--Watching--Past all tears--Taken home--The dark
valley.


The summer sunlight lay thick about the room where Mrs Campbell was
dying.  There was a square of deep blue sky, edged by the window frame,
glistening before her eyes--eyes that now were lighted up with the
fervour of a holy death--eyes that glowed in sweet anticipation of that
pure light which shines forever on the hills of heaven.

The silence of the room was only broken now and then by the few
soothing words the doctor's wife would say or read.  Mrs Valentine sat
on the farther side of the bed, her eyes red with weeping; and, from
time to time, tried to get some nourishment into the poor weak lips,
though she knew well the while that all these tender ministerings were
in vain.  It was a lonely death for the dying one, even though she had
these two good friends with her.  He who had loved, and loved her
still, so well, could not be there to hear her last words on earth.
She must lay her head in other arms than his, and give up her soul to
God, without a farewell word from him, without one prayer together
uttered, that God would hasten the time of their meeting in that land
where partings are unknown.  No!  She must die without the presence of
her nearest, dearest one on earth, while he was beating out upon the
great waters of the ocean.

In the morning after Harry had started for school, Mrs Campbell, in a
violent fit of coughing, had broken a blood-vessel.  In her present
state this meant speedy and certain death.  And Dr Bromley, when he
returned home, after having seen her, had told his wife that Mrs
Campbell could not last more than two or three hours.  So, sending at
once to the Grammar-School to request Doctor Palmer to allow Harry to
go home immediately, the tender-hearted Mrs Bromley started for the
farm.

And there she sat reading and speaking words of comfort to the dying
wife, watching and fearing each moment would be the last.  She was Mrs
Campbell's only friend save Mrs Valentine.  It is true the vicar had
been to visit her several times, but under such painful circumstances
the absence of one so near and dear as her husband made her almost
inconsolable.  Her parents had both been dead some years, and she was
their only child.  And as it often happens, while so many people have
relations in numbers almost too abundant, she had none.  Her only great
friends were in Malta, friends whom she had known in the dear old days,
when all seemed so bright and hopeful before her.  It was therefore but
natural that she should cling to the doctor's good wife; and thus their
friendship, born as it was of a time of sorrow and suffering, was one
of pure and holy comfort to them both.

And the morning crept on, with words of heaven softly uttered by the
living, and drunk in with eager ears by the dying; and outside the
birds sang, and the green trees whispered, stretching out their tiny
leaf-hands to the caressant breezes, and all was summery there
without,--all was sunshine and gladness.  And through the heedless
village ran Harry, heart-broken and afraid, and entered, from the
brightness, his mother's peaceful room of death.  He was past all
crying now.  The tears seemed dried up in one great burning spot within
his brain.  He stood quietly by the bed, longing to hear that
well-known voice, but not daring to speak; she lay so still he scarcely
knew whether she were alive or really dead.

"Here is Harry, dear Mrs Campbell," said the doctor's wife; "he has
come from school.  Don't you know him?  Here he is."

She turned her large grey eyes upon her boy for some time without
recognising him.  Then, at last, opening her arms, said:

"Harry, darling, is that you?  I'm going away now--going to heaven.
You'll always be a good boy, won't you?"

"Mamma, mamma, you _do_ believe I'm innocent, don't you?" said Harry.
He could not let her die without hearing once more from own lips her
trustful confidence in him.

"Yes, darling boy, I know you have spoken the truth.  Kiss me now," she
whispered, her voice growing weaker.  "Good-bye, darling Harry; God
bless you!  Good-bye, dear Mrs Bromley.  Good-bye, Mrs Valentine.  God
will reward you!"  And then her voice was hardly audible as she
murmured to herself, "Buried at Wilton, and Alan will come and see my
grave.  Alan, darling Alan, God is taking me home."  And then as a
heavenly light shone through her eyes, her voice regained its strength.
"Into thy hand, O Lord I commend my spirit!" and so she died.

Harry's face was pressed close to hers, and his burning tears now fell
thick upon the lifeless cheek.

"Oh! mamma, mamma," he sobbed, "what shall I do? what shall I do?"

And, sinking on the floor, he wept as though his heart would break.
Mrs Bromley and the farmer's wife were too much wrapt in their own
grief to stir to comfort him.  So the three wept there together, in the
quiet little farm beside old Wilton church; while she, for whom they
wept, now henceforth knew no more sorrow, no more pain, nor any tears;
and still outside the birds sang on unwitting, and, from without, the
summer brightness mocked the darkness that was within--the darkness of
the valley of the shadow of death.



CHAPTER XI.

MOVING HOME.

School again--Leaving the farm--Like father, like son--Tea for two--The
doctor retires--Miss Parker's oration.


Clouds and sunshine, sunshine and clouds.  So runs the world away.
Equally necessary, sorrow and gladness are as the rains and sunbeams
for the fruits of the earth.  Were it all sadness the world would grow
morose and torpid; were it all gladness men would be selfish and
hard-hearted.

Four days had now elapsed since Mrs Campbell died; and it was the
evening of the funeral-day, a sad, rainy evening, and Harry was waiting
while Mrs Valentine packed his things, for that night he was to go to
the Grammar-School to sleep; to be there as a boarder, at any rate till
his father returned.  He scarcely spoke a word, and what he did say
seemed to choke him.  His mother dead; his father away at sea; himself
sent back to the school he had left but a few days since, smarting with
the pain of his undeserved punishment and accusation; his plight was
indeed a sad one.  Mrs Valentine tried to cheer him as well as she
might, but she felt the blow that left Harry motherless too bitterly
herself to be of much comfort to him.

At half-past seven William appeared with a light cart of Dr Palmer's,
to take Harry and his luggage to school.  Perhaps the bluntness of the
old butler was more opportune now than ever.  It prevented the
lengthening of a parting that could not be otherwise than utterly sad
and wretched to Harry.  There was the good kind Mrs Valentine to leave;
and the dear old farm, where he had spent so many joyous days in happy
ignorance of the blow which now had stricken him.  And there was the
churchyard to say good-bye to, which now he could see but seldom, and
when he was near her grave, his mother did not seem to him to be so far
away.

But William was not unkindly blunt.  Yet the sight of him brought back
to Harry's mind the recollection of all that had occurred at school on
the last occasion he had seen William's obese person.  The crib found
in his desk, the fight, the caning, and then--then, back came the
recollection that he was indeed alone.

"Good-bye, my dear, good-bye," said Mrs Valentine; "be sure you come
and see me when you can.  Papa'll be home soon, maybe," though she
feared she was but holding out false hopes in this.

"There, that'll do, missis," said William, interrupting the moist
embraces of the good farmer's wife; and he flicked the fat pony across
his sleek shoulder; and, with Harry and his boxes, was soon away down
the lane, Mrs Valentine gazing after them, her long print apron at her
eyes.

"Just like his father, dear boy, as brave and composed like.  But 'tis
harder a'most for all that."  And who would say that her moralising was
wrong?

As a special favour, and "in consideration of his late deplorable
affliction," as Miss Parker, the matron, phrased it, Harry was to have
his tea in Doctor Palmer's study that night, a favour Harry by no means
saw in the light intended.  He would far rather have had his tea with
the rest; though, for the matter of that, he didn't want any tea at
all.  He was too miserable to eat.  But his face was quiet and composed
when he reached Doctor Palmer's hall, and was ushered into the study.

The tea was all ready,--two cups, two saucers, two plates,--so Harry
was prepared for a _tête-à-tête_ with the Doctor.  Everything looked
very nice and tempting, at least, it would have looked so on any other
occasion; but now there was that numerical horror staring him in the
face; those two cups, those two saucers, those two plates!  It must be
for Doctor Palmer and himself that all the preparations were made.  But
he was not left long in doubt, for, at that moment, the Doctor entered.
He greeted Harry most kindly, and told him to take a seat at the table,
which Harry did in silence; and then the Doctor poured out a cup of tea
for him, and helped him to some cold meat.  Harry watching every motion
the while; and then, taking a cup for himself, drank it standing.

Harry hated all this kindness.  He would almost have preferred angry
words; but he ate what he had, and enjoyed it, though he said nothing
more than "yes," or "no, thank you," or "please," to the Doctor's
various remarks.

It was becoming unbearable, and he longed for the distant etiquette
which school-life sets between boys and masters.  He was in no mood for
a master to try to play the parent, especially when now the contrast
seemed so great, and lying, as he was, under false imputations.

But he was soon relieved, for Doctor Palmer said:

"I have to go out now, Campbell.  Don't hurry over your tea, but when
you have quite finished you can go to bed.  You need not wait up for
prayers."

"Thank you, sir," answered Harry, brighter for the first time.  Relief
was come at last, and the study-door closing over the Doctor's portly
form was the welcomest sight Harry had seen for many days.

Once alone, he lingered over his tea.  He knew he wouldn't be
interrupted, and the contents of the table seemed doubly good now.  He
even looked at some books, and at last became so absorbed in one, that
he went on reading, regardless of time, till he heard the boarders'
prayer-bell ringing, at the sound of which he hurried off to bed.  On
the stairs he met the matron.

"Oh, Master Campbell, I was looking for you.  You're changed into No. 7
dormitory.  I put your box by your bed, so you'll know where you're to
sleep.  How are you now, dear," she added, kindly, "have you heard from
your papa? when's he coming home?  You'll try and be a good boy, won't
you?  You must think how it would vex your dear ma; and you won't give
Doctor Palmer cause to cane you again, I know," and Miss Parker
smoothed her apron, and took breath after her long-winded oration.

There it was at last.  Harry feared it would come sooner or later, this
allusion to the crib.  He burst out indignantly,--

"Mamma believed me, Miss Parker, if nobody else did.  She knew I didn't
crib; but I won't bear it, I won't," he cried passionately, as he ran
up-stairs to his new destination.



CHAPTER XII.

BULLYING.

"Gas out."--The new boy's turn--"To err is
human"--Resistance--Persecution--I'll run away.


"Well, there now," ejaculated Miss Parker, "I never!  That boy's not a
bit brought down by his mother's death.  He sticks to it, just as
indignant as ever."

But Harry was out of hearing, and was sitting on his bed, staring into
his box which he had just opened.  Presently, there was a sound of
footsteps scurrying up-stairs and along the passages, and the door of
No. 7 dormitory burst open, and its sixteen boys rushed in one after
another, huddling together like a flock of sheep.

The first thing that met their eyes was Harry, who didn't quite know
whether they would speak to him or not.  So he waited till one or two
greeted him with a shake of the hand, and a "how-de-do, Campbell?" two
or three more with a cold "hallo, Campbell!" and the rest with only a
stare.

Amongst the latter were Egerton and Warburton.  In about five minutes a
step was heard on the landing-place below.

"Gas out," cried Egerton, "there's Lea coming."

"Lea" was a house-master.

No one moved to obey the order.

"Now, then," cried Warburton, "who's new boy?"  Harry, where he knelt
at his bedside saying his prayers, knew he was meant; but he had not
jumped up from his knees to obey the order, when a slipper came hard at
him.  He, however, first put out the gas, and was on his knees again,
finishing his prayers, when Mr Lea entered.  All being quiet, and the
light out, he retired.  As soon as his last step was heard below, one
or two voices exclaimed--

"I say, Jackson, go on with your story, where you left off last night."

"Oh, no," answered Jackson, the boy appealed to, "I ain't new boy now.
I've done my turn."

The majority of the boys did not quite like to tell Harry plainly it
was his turn to provide the usual nightly amusement of a story, for
they felt some sort of compunction towards him, because of his mother's
death, even though they had not spoken to him; but they did not
hesitate to talk pointedly about its being the new boy's turn; that
Jackson had done his turn; _he_ was the last new boy, and so on.

But as Harry took no notice of these remarks, Egerton solved the
difficulty by saying curtly,--

"Campbell, it's your turn to tell a story, so look sharp, and begin."

"I haven't got one to tell," answered Harry, as he sat, still
undressed, on his bed, unlacing his boots.

"Can't help that," said Egerton, "you must make up one.  You're a good
hand at that, aren't you?" he sneered, brutally.

Those few words clenched the feeling of hatred that had been gradually
growing in Harry's breast towards Egerton.  Then first sprang up within
him a great desire of revenge, which in after years increased with
Harry's growth--of revenge on one who had thus blasted his reputation,
it seemed for ever.  It is true, he had but shortly risen from his
knees.  But do not call his prayers hypocritical, because these angry,
revengeful thoughts had taken such root in him so soon.  If we had not
these passions we should be divine.  The only strange thing is, he was
so young; for "vengeance" is usually only the cry of those of mature
age.  But a consideration of the circumstances in which he was placed,
and the advanced temperament of his mind, will make the wonder vanish.

Harry took no notice of Egerton's speech as far as an answer was
concerned.  He went on unlacing his boots in silence; but he felt his
face burn white with anger.

"Now then, Campbell," cried Egerton, "none of your sulks; it won't do.
Are you going to tell a story or not?"

"No," answered Harry, bluntly and firmly.

"But it's your turn, Campbell," expostulated some of the others,
wanting the story, but yet not wanting a row.

"I'd have tried to, if Egerton hadn't said that," answered Harry to the
last speakers, whose tone seemed somewhat consolatory to him.

"Hadn't said what?" they asked.

"Why, said that I knew how to tell stories.  You know what he meant,
and it's beastly bullying, it is," went on Harry, impetuously and
indignantly, "and he knows he's the liar, and not me," waxing bold from
the apparent sympathy the silence of the room seemed to augur.  But in
that silence the anger of Egerton, and of a number of his special
friends, was gathering; and the words were scarcely out of Harry's
mouth, when a boot came through the darkness, hitting him on the
shoulder, and then another, and another.

Harry sat on his bed, boiling with rage.  He did not feel in the mood
for fighting, and besides, in the dark it was impossible.

Then came another ominous silence; and suddenly a scuffle of feet
sounded near his bed, and before he knew where he was, his bed was
suddenly dragged out into the middle of the room, turned over, and
clothes, boots, sponges, wet towels, and pillows heaped upon him.

Harry was maddened: he longed to find some one to hit, but the darkness
prevented that.  He heard suppressed voices laughing at him, but could
see not a sign of any one; the bedclothes entangled his movements; he
was wet with the sponges and bruised from the boots.  What could he do?
Where could he find help?  "Not at school, not at school," he said to
himself.  "If I tell, I shan't be believed;" and then the idea came
across him--"I'll run away."  The thought was no sooner in his head,
than his mind was firmly resolved.  Yes, he would run away from this
horrid place; anywhere, anywhere, rather than stay here.



CHAPTER XIII.

FLIGHT.

In the passage--Past the last door--Somebody coming--Across the lawn--A
footstep--The doctor!


As luck would have it, Harry's bed was near the door.  If he could but
get out of the dormitory unobserved by the boys, that would be at least
one rung mounted on the ladder of escape.  He was fully dressed, his
boots only being unlaced.  So taking them off, he crept towards the
door, and waiting cautiously, hidden by the now-welcome darkness, till
a fresh noisy onset was made by his assailants on the bed where they
supposed him to be, he stealthily lifted the latch and stood on the
stairs.  He was not long creeping down to the first landing--a narrow
carpeted passage, full of numerous doors, and terminating in a window
which looked over a shed where the boots and knives, etc., were
cleaned.  The stairs which led below, joined those of No. 7 dormitory
at one end of the passage, exactly opposite to the window, the distance
from the window to the stairs being about ten yards.  When Harry left
his room he had not the least notion how he was going to accomplish his
purpose.  He had only a vague idea that he was running away; and it was
not till he alighted at the end of the passage mentioned, and saw from
the other end the moonlight streaming in through the curtainless
window, that it entered his head that there he might find means of
escape.

So he stole cautiously along the passage, nervous, excited, fearing
lest he should disturb any of the sleepers in the various rooms he
passed.  The whole place was so still, he could almost hear his heart
thumping.  The only thing besides that stirred the silence was the
subdued monotonous snoring from the rooms.  A waft of fresh summer
night-air made his heart leap with delight and eagerness.  The window
was open.  The rest seemed easy.

The last door was passed, and he stood at the ledge looking out into
the moonlight.  How quiet everything was!  Far off, across the
playground, he saw a few lights burning in the different masters'
houses; but the Doctor's, in a wing of which he was, was quite dark.
Of course, he remembered, the Doctor was out.  How fortunate! and the
kitchen-windows looked the other way.  The roof of the boot-house was
about six feet below the window-ledge.  At the corner stood a
water-butt, and, against that, a large empty box turned up on end.
Everything appeared to be put there to further his escape.  The
boot-house stood in a yard, which opened into Dr Palmer's garden, and
from that he knew escape would be easy enough.

He had just tied his boots together, and by the aid of his
pocket-handkerchief dropped them on the roof.  His hands were already
on the window-ledge, and one leg over, when he heard a footstep on the
stairs below.  What should he do?  To stay as he was, motionless, would
be fatal.  He was full in the moonlight.  To crouch down in the corner,
where the moonlight did not shine, might possibly screen him.  Not a
second was to be lost.  His resolution was formed.  Over went the other
leg; and, hanging with his fingers to the outside of the window-ledge,
afraid to drop to the roof lest the noise should be heard, he clung
trembling, while he heard the step ascending to the top dormitory.  He
must be off,--right away, in a few minutes; for it would not now be
long before he was missed.  Down he dropped the remaining distance,
picked up his boots, scrambled down the water-butt, on to the box, and
there he was safe on the ground at last.  The gate from the yard into
the doctor's garden was always open.  He ran noiselessly through, on
his bootless feet, into the garden, and across the lawn; and, skirting
along where the laurels cast a dark pathway of shadow over the moonlit
grass, he made for a corner of the garden-wall, near which the high
road ran, and which some few days ago he had noticed was either lower
than elsewhere, or somewhat tumbled down.  Into the laurels he darted,
and soon found the spot he wished; and, then knowing he was quite
hidden, and, moreover, in a place where no one would dream of searching
for him, he sat down to regain his breath; and, as he put on his boots,
listened eagerly to catch the slightest sound that might warn him that
his absence was discovered.  Nor was it more than two or three minutes
before he heard voices in the playground, and the unlocking of various
doors, and lights shone suddenly in several windows.

[Illustration: "There he was, safe on the ground at last."--WILTON
SCHOOL, page 98]

No more waiting was to be thought of.  He must go on, if he meant
really to escape; or be caught, and so have all the trouble and fright
for nothing, or at least not for nothing.  He knew if he were caught,
his stay at school would only be a very short one; and better anything
than be caned, and afterwards expelled.

So he scrambled up the garden-wall, and his eyes brightened as he saw
the hard, highroad that would lead him away from this place of torture.

To right the road ran down towards the village: to left it led to the
school, and to the entrance of Doctor Palmer's house; and, further on,
to the neighbouring town.

He was preparing to jump down, when again the sound of a footstep
checked and terrified him.  If it were coming up from the village, the
passer-by would of course see him.  If it were coming from the school,
the same result would be fatal to him.  The only hope was, that it was
a retreating step of some one who had passed while his attention was
drawn off by the noise of those who were searching for him.

He stretched out his head and looked down the road.  No one there.  So
far he was safe.  He looked up the road; and there was a well-known
figure, magnified and looking very gaunt in the moonlight.  It was the
Doctor.  But--and Harry could scarcely believe his eyes for joy--he was
going away from where his runaway pupil crouched trembling on the wall.
He must have passed just before he climbed up.  The Doctor seemed to be
walking so perversely slow, actually strolling, Harry thought.  When
would he turn the corner?

Fainter, however, grew the footsteps, and at length the portly figure
disappeared.  And then, jumping hastily from the wall, with a slip on
to the road, and scrambling to pick himself up, Harry ran as hard as
his legs would carry him down towards Wilton village.



CHAPTER XIV.

AT SLEEP AT LAST.

Mingled feelings--Sore perplexity--Cherishing vengeance--'Ware the
dog--Want of reflection--In the churchyard--Footsteps--A strange bed.


He did not stop running till he had put nearly three-quarters of a mile
between him and the school.  And then two considerations brought him to
a standstill.  Firstly, he was out of breath; he could scarcely run a
step farther; and secondly, he was now close into the heart of the
village, and the groups of lounging figures he espied in the distance
warned him he must be careful how he proceeded.  About two hundred
yards in advance was a public house--"The Blue Anchor;" and here, of
course, was a goodly knot of men, some inside drinking, some outside
smoking, and all making a most disreputable noise.  There were also one
or two women in amongst the crowd, evidently searching for truant sons
or husbands, and Harry feared their inquisitive eyes even more than he
feared the men.  For he remembered he was covered with dust and dirt
from his scramble; his hair all rough; hatless, and generally untidy.
Besides, what business had a boy of his age and station in life to be
wandering about a village, alone, at half-past nine?

So he retraced his steps a short distance, until he came to a stile
leading to a lane which skirted the village; and which, running past
the farm and the church, as before-mentioned, joined the highroad at
the further end of the village.

Once in the lane, and safe from sight, he slackened his pace; and then,
with the feeling of comparative safety, came very mingled feelings of
exultation, loneliness, and fear--each striving to have the uppermost
in the poor boy's heart.

Hitherto the excitement of achieving that vague performance of running
away from school had pre-occupied him, and kept away all thoughts of
the future.  But the dangers of the escape were now all overcome, or at
least Harry thought they were.  What, then, was the next thing to be
done?  Should he go to Mrs Valentine?  If he went there, perhaps she
would send him back to school.  And besides, the farm would be shut up,
and every one gone to bed.  How should he attract Mrs Valentine's
attention; and make her come down and let him in?  The dog was always
loose at night, to keep intruders off.  He would be sure to fly at him,
if he attempted to go near the place.

So Harry was very sore perplexed, and began to think that running away
was not such an easy thing after all.  And he remembered that Egerton
was the cause of all this trouble.  Had it not been for him, he would
have been at school; motherless, it is true, but not in disgrace as he
was; sad at heart, but not hated and suspected by boys and masters.
Egerton!  Egerton had caused it all!  And Harry longed for revenge.  He
would treasure up his hatred, his thirst for vengeance, and some day,
perhaps, he would meet the one who had done him this wrong, and then
the debt should be paid off.  This feeling of revenge was already
firmly rooted in his heart, already beginning to be the one purpose of
his life.

He would go on towards the farm, at any rate, and see how things stood.
Perhaps the dog was not loose that night, or if it were, might
recognise him.

So, plucking up his spirits, he ran along the lane towards the little
farm, where he had been so happy with his dear dead mother, and towards
the quiet churchyard, whose coverlet of green was over her.

He was not long reaching the farm, and went cautiously up to the gate.
Not a sound! not a light in any window!  There was the great silver
moon making everything as bright almost as day, and there was the slow
munching of the cows in the adjoining orchard.  Harry's heart rose
higher.  No dog! not a sign of him!  He put his hand to open the gate.
The latch stuck.  He pushed harder; it flew open with a sharp click,
and he had not time to listen whether the sound had been heard or no,
when a dog's low growl solved the question.

He started back from the gate, which fell to with a loud crash.  It was
all up now.  Out rushed the dog, barking fiercely, and off rushed Harry
simultaneously.  And naturally enough, too.  It is not pleasant to be
mauled by a huge mastiff.

Had the idea struck him, he would have kept at a respectful distance,
and there waited in hopes that the baying of the dog would disturb the
inmates of the house, and that on their coming out to discover the
reason, he would gain his object of being let in.

But it is very doubtful whether a much older and, therefore, more
thoughtful person than Harry would have considered anything but the
fierceness of the dog, and the desirability of getting away as quickly,
and as far, as possible.

So Harry bolted down the lane at headlong speed, while the dog, seeing
the intruder depart, only uttered a few self-satisfied growls, and
returned to his mat in the porch, conscious that he had done his duty.
At the same moment, Mrs Valentine opened her window and put out a
night-capped head into the moonlight, and craning it all round, to see
what was the matter, and seeing nothing extraordinary, put it in again,
with a slight shiver.

Good soul! how little she dreamt of the apparently-trifling episode
enacted underneath her window!  How gladly would she have welcomed the
runaway frightened boy!  And how different that boy's after life would
have been had she but wakened sooner.

Meanwhile, Harry was stopping at the churchyard-gate.  He longed to go
in.  He hesitated.  On another occasion, and in his mother's lifetime,
he would not have dared to go inside the wicket after dark.  But now,
now he was going away, he knew not where!  Out into the world, and that
seemed a very long way off to Harry.  It was like another country.
Besides, what would hurt him while she was there, he asked himself?

So, without more ado, he passed through the creaking gate, up the
lime-tree avenue, heedless of the ghost-like shadows of the tombstones,
and the rustle of the fragrant leaves.

It was soon found, that little grassy mound in the corner by the
ivy-covered porch.  And then he could bear up no longer.  He burst into
tears, and throwing himself on the dewy moonlit sward, wept bitterly.

"Oh, mamma, mamma, why did you die? why did you die?  What shall I do?"
he sobbed in a low, excited tone, "I'm so lonely, mamma! mamma!"

And the quiet night stole on, and the soft winds of June whispered over
the motherless boy, weeping there alone in the churchyard.

The sound of footsteps!  Harry jumped up and listened, eager, and
frightened.  The churchyard wicket was opened and shut again, and then
he heard a steady measured tread of persons slowly approaching.  He was
riveted to the spot, and a cold perspiration broke upon his forehead.
The steps were nearing, and then, rounding the corner of the tower, the
new comers came into sight.

One look was enough, and Harry was off down the other path that led
from the churchyard to the further end of the village.

It was only a funeral of a drowned man who had been picked up the
previous night upon the shore of Wilton.  But the dark, slow-moving
figures of the bearers, and the flickering gleam of the lanthorns, made
dim by the moonshine, froze his heart with terror, and drove him away
from his mother's grave without one word of parting.  Perhaps it was
better so.  It saved him the difficulty and sorrow of having to decide
to say good-bye for ever to that grassy sleeping-place where slept the
one so dear to him.

Away he ran, heedless, frightened, through the straggling remainder of
the village.  Not a light was burning, not a person stirring, which was
fortunate, though he never paused to see; or think, but hastened on
till he fancied he had gone miles; and then, seeing an inviting barn
close by the roadside, turned in, and, worn out with fatigue and
excitement, soon slept heavily in a low, broken manger full of hay--a
strange but welcome bed.



CHAPTER XV.

THE BITERS BIT.

Excitement in school--Expecting a row--The doctor speaks--Deliberate
falsehood--The truth comes out--The two culprits--Manly confession--Mr
Franklyn speaks--Honest shame--Egerton convicted--The doctor's
speech--Warburton caned--Egerton birched--Justification.


The bright fresh summer hour of seven, the following morning, was very
different in the barn where Harry had taken up his abode to what it was
at the grammar-school.  In the former, it saw the tired lonely boy
sleeping heavily, his face stained with tears; in the latter, a great
stir and confusion.  Campbell had run away.  The search in the night
had been fruitless; and to add to the general excitement, that morning
the Examiner was to commence the _viva voce_ part of the examination.
The hour of preparation, from seven to eight, was not a very
industrious one.  Boys were too full of surmises, and Mr Prichard, who
happened that morning to be in charge of the school-room, was too much
disturbed about Harry's disappearance to pay much attention to the
whispers which were spreading through the room.  Breakfast, too, was by
no means the usual ordinarily quiet meal.

The only boys who betrayed any symptoms of nervousness or uneasiness
(all were excited, of course) were those who had joined Egerton and
Warburton in their assault on Harry the previous night.

These looked guilty; but their ringleaders preserved the utmost
coolness and indifference; and a casual observer, if asked, would have
said, "Well, if there are two boys more than any others who certainly
have nothing to do with the whole affair, those two are Egerton and
Warburton."

So much for guilt, and the mask it can so well assume.

Before the nine o'clock bell had ceased ringing, every boy was in his
place in the big school-room--a rare occurrence, indeed--waiting
eagerly for the appearance of the Doctor.  For boys like nothing better
than a "row" when they themselves are not implicated.  And remember,
those who were so implicated were but an exceedingly small fraction of
the whole number.  What the guilty ones felt will best be known by
those who have been in a similar position.

Dr Palmer entered with the Examiner, a fresh-coloured young man, in a
very new gown, and a very new hood, thrown jauntily over his shoulders.
The doctor was grave and stern, and looked at nobody.  The Examiner
played with his watch-chain, and looked at everybody, running his eyes
rapidly along the different desks and forms.  And the other masters
followed in due order.  And, when all were in their respective places,
prayers were said, and Dr Palmer, amid breathless silence, spoke as
follows:

"You are most of you, if not all, aware of what occurred last night.
One of your number, Campbell, has, in a fit of rashness and haste, run
away, and as yet has not been found.  There must be some special reason
for this;" and the Doctor paused and looked round the room.  "I left
him in my study at half-past seven last night, having his tea, and as
happy as he could be under the sad circumstances of his mother's
death."  And his voice trembled; "On reaching home a few minutes after
nine I find he has disappeared.  The dormitory, in which he slept, is
discovered in a disgraceful state of disorder and confusion.  The boys
who sleep there must have an explanation to give.  On another matter
with regard to Campbell, I shall have to speak presently."  And again
the dignified voice was broken with ill-concealed emotion.  "Sit down,
all of you, except those who sleep in No. 7 dormitory."

The order was obeyed, and the sixteen stood in their places, the
observed of all eyes.

"Egerton, you are eldest in the dormitory.  Did you do anything, or see
anything done, that might provoke Campbell to this rash act?"

"No, sir; nothing at all," answered Egerton, fearlessly.

"You did not interfere with him in any way?"

Egerton hesitated.  "No, sir, I didn't.  I didn't even speak to him.
It wasn't likely after what he said of me to you."

"That will do," said Doctor Palmer, in a strange tone.  "You may sit
down.  Warburton!"

"Yes, sir!"

"Did you interfere with Campbell in any way last night?"

"No, sir, not at all," answered Warburton.

"Sit down!" again said the Doctor.

Two deliberate liars out of sixteen is a large proportion, and it is
not to be supposed that there would be more such.  The rest would
either maintain a frightened silence or tell the truth.  Fortunately,
the boy next questioned was one of the latter class.  And his fearless
answer gave courage to the rest.

"Yes, sir, I did.  I pulled his bed out into the room and upset it,"
answered Williams, when the same question was put to him.  And before
the Doctor could say a word, the remaining three implicated with
Egerton, Warburton, and Williams, confessed their share in the matter.
The rest denied, with truth, having done anything to Campbell, and were
told to sit down.

Those who had confessed were then called into the centre of the room
and further questioned as to who commenced the attack on Campbell, and
what was the cause of it.

Williams looked at the other three who stood with him, and the three
looked at Williams; and all got very red, and said nothing.

The Doctor repeated his question.

The boys hesitated, and looked doubtfully towards Egerton and
Warburton, to see if they would come forward; but no! the two preserved
the same stolid demeanour.  So at length Williams told the whole story,
not exculpating himself in the least degree, but only saying how sorry
he was; and the others confirmed his statement.

"Egerton and Warburton, stand out.  Do you hear what Williams says?  Do
you still deny the charge brought against you?"

The room was breathless.  The two culprits turned deadly pale, and
began to stammer out what was partially denial, partially excuse.  And
then in an abject tone implored forgiveness.

Doctor Palmer took no notice of their entreaties, but mentioned to them
to stand by his desk.  The other four he dismissed to their seats.

He then addressed the whole assemblage of boys and masters:

"I have now another matter of very serious moment to speak to you
about.  A great injustice has been done to Campbell--an injustice which
has in a measure contributed, I fear, to his reasons for running away.
To set you an example of the manliness of confession, I tell you
openly, and Mr Prichard wishes me to say the same for him, that we--he
and I--have made a great mistake, and judged and punished Campbell
unjustly.  You will understand that I am referring to the book found in
his possession during the examination.  At the same time, I wish you
all fully to understand that appearances went decidedly against
Campbell, and evidence proved his guilt.  And it was acting upon these
appearances and this evidence that we punished him.  Mr Franklyn,
however, will kindly explain the matter to you;" and the Doctor sat
down overcome by excitement and emotion.

And then Mr Franklyn (the Examiner), after a preliminary "ahem!" spoke
to the boys in a clear ringing voice, going straight to the point
without any introductory remarks.

"On Tuesday last I received the papers done by you on Monday morning.
With those of the Lower Third Form came a note from Mr Prichard, saying
that he had sent with the papers a book--a Delectus translation ('Crib'
as you would call it)--which he had found in Campbell's possession
during the examination.  And he requested me, and very properly, too,
to take the necessary steps respecting Campbell's place in his class.
Here, however, Mr Prichard begs me to plainly state the mistake he
made.  He did not compare the papers sent in, with the translation of
the book.  This would at once have acquitted Campbell.  For I at once
emphatically say that, even if the book were his, he never used it
during the examination.  His work was correct, but boyish in style.
The rendering of the book is the work of a man.  So much, then, is
clear, that of the charge of using the book during the examination,
Campbell is perfectly innocent; and I only wish he were here to hear me
say so."

At these words all reverence for masters was thrown aside, and the
vehement clapping of hands soon showed that Harry's good name was once
more firmly established, and not only established, but that his
clearance gave joy to the school.

"But," resumed Mr Franklyn, when the noise had abated, "to make
assurance doubly sure, I will go a step further, and tell you who _did_
use the book during the examination."

With a sort of presentiment of what was coming, all eyes were turned
upon Egerton; while in the hearts of many a feeling of shame--honest,
good-producing shame--sprang up for the unkind part they had played to
Harry.

"On turning to Egerton's papers," continued Mr Franklyn, "I at once
detected a strong similarity to the translation I had just examined;
and on a close comparison found his translation coincided word for word
with the book found in Campbell's possession, and which he was accused
of using.  Whether the book belongs to Egerton or not, I do not know;
but this is evident, that it was he, and not Campbell, who was guilty
of taking unfair advantage of his companions.  How the book came into
Campbell's desk I know not.  But as Egerton has been, in these two
matters, convicted of telling a wilful untruth, I am ready to believe
him capable of any further deceitful conduct to screen himself.  It
rests with Doctor Palmer to conclude this most painful affair."

As Mr Franklyn ended, and resumed his seat, there was a mixed murmur,
partly from pleasure at Harry's innocence, partly from an impulse,
which seemed to take possession of all, of snatching the punishment of
Egerton out of the lawful hands.

The noise, however, instantly ceased when Doctor Palmer rose.

"None of you can be more glad than I am," he said, "that Campbell's
innocence has been fully proved, and none of you more sorry than I,
that he has been punished unjustly.  At the same time, you must clearly
understand that the mistake, which Mr Prichard and I made, does not in
the least degree exonerate Egerton.  He has done that for which I
punished Campbell; removing as he thought all traces of his guilt, and
throwing them on another's shoulders.  And then, not merely to screen
himself, but to ruin that other, he tells one deliberate lie after
another.  Not content even with that, he provokes the innocent boy
whose reputation he had blasted, and the result you all know.  Those
who joined in bullying Campbell last night, I forgive.  They have
confessed.  Warburton has not done so.  For his lie, I punish him."

And then, calling Warburton, he caned him severely before the whole
school, a punishment but rarely adopted, and once only remembered to
have taken place by the elder boys.

"With regard to Egerton," he resumed, "there is but one course for me
to adopt."  And he rang a bell which communicated with his house, and,
after a breathless pause of about three minutes, William entered,
bearing a birch, with an expression of mock gravity on his countenance.
Egerton's appearance was one of abject meanness; his indifference was
all gone; he was the picture of trembling, tearful cowardice.

The birch had never been used in the recollection of any of the boys.
It had only existed--a shadowy terror.  But now that it appeared in all
its stern dignity, Egerton, the destined recipient, fell on his knees,
and, with streaming eyes--coward as he was--begged imploringly for
forgiveness.

It was not likely his cries would be of any avail.  Nor, indeed, were
they.  Nor would the Doctor prolong the sickening scene.  The birch did
its duty, and well.

In five minutes Egerton had been birched in such a manner that every
one thought he would certainly never forget it till his dying day.
Egerton himself was too "personally affected" to think of anything, but
contented himself with howling lustily.  And finally he heard the
Doctor's voice, telling him he was expelled, and would leave the school
in two hours.

"There will be no more work to-day," said Doctor Palmer, when he had
recovered breath from his exertions.  "Besides the pleasure of
proclaiming Campbell's innocence, I have to add that Mr Franklyn tells
me his papers were far superior to those of the rest of his class; and
that, judging from them, he would have easily maintained his position
as head boy, had he not left us of his own accord, provoked and
ill-treated, I cordially allow.  I only trust we may be able to
discover him, and have him once more among us.  You see, boys," he
added affectionately, "truth and innocence will always right themselves
sooner or later."

And then, as the masters left the room, there rose the loud ringing
cheers that English boys know so well to give.  The innocent was
justified; the guilty punished!  Was not that enough to make all hearts
glad?

But meantime, he, whom all this most chiefly concerned, still slept in
the barn on his bed of hay, a dreamless sleep, unconscious alike of
sorrow and of that which might have changed the whole colour of his
life--the removing of the burden of guilt which had weighed him down.
But it had come too late.  Was it better so?  Maybe it was.



CHAPTER XVI.

BLEWCOME'S ROYAL MENAGERIE.

A well-matched pair--Harry awakes--New
characters--Introduction--Breakfast--A trifle happier--His new life.


Mr Blewcome and his wife, Mrs Blewcome, were great travellers.  There
were few places, large and small, in England, where the forms of Mr and
Mrs Blewcome were unknown.

Mr Blewcome was the proprietor of a travelling menagerie, and was a
very distinguished personage in his own way, a man with a mind far
above your ordinary proprietors of "wild beastesses," as Mrs Blewcome
informed all whom she met.  A man who had adopted that profession with
the noble object of raising it to its proper level.  Noble and
enthusiastic Blewcome!

Mr Blewcome was tall and thin; Mrs B. was short and stout.  The face of
the manager and proprietor of Blewcome's Royal Menagerie was sallow and
cadaverous.  The face of his spouse was rubicund to a degree.  In fact,
in everything, the pair were admirably suited, according to the
principle, that the more unlike two people are, the better they will
agree; and they led a very prosperous "Jack Sprat and his wife" sort of
life, roaming from place to place, with their caravans of wild beasts
and yellow chariot of unhealthy-looking musicians, whose performance
consisted of a very small quantity of trumpet, and a very great deal of
drum.  First-rate things in bands, drums are; they make so much noise,
and hide such a multitude of mistakes.  Besides, one tune will last so
much longer with a judicious intermixture of drum.  So Mr and Mrs
Blewcome went about England, and Mr Blewcome gave incorrect lectures
about impossible wild beasts, and Mrs Blewcome took the money at the
door; while outside, the band played to delighted audiences, who always
came to hear the music because they had not to pay anything for that
pleasure.

Now it so happened that Blewcome's Royal Menagerie had made a most
successful sojourn in Wilton, and was now on its way to the
neighbouring town of Newbury; and, having reached the third milestone
from Wilton, was passing the barn where Harry slept, fancying himself
miles away from the hated grammar-school.  Like most boys, he had not
much idea of distance, and, besides, the night had deceived him.

The rumbling of the vans, and the growling of the beasts, who were
making a great deal of very unnecessary noise, startled Harry from his
sleep; and he ran out of his strange sleeping-chamber to see what it
all meant, and stood staring open-mouthed at the curious
divers-coloured caravans as they rolled along.  The yellow chariot led
the way.  But the musicians were silent, and the drum swung from the
back of the vehicle unbeaten and at peace.  Last of all came Mr and Mrs
Blewcome in the gaudiest of the caravans, drawn by two piebald steeds
with very long manes and very thin tails, and who seemed to have seen
their best days.

The eagle eye of Timothy Blewcome caught sight of Harry, and, turning
to his wife, he remarked, in a tragic tone (he was a bit of an orator,
was Blewcome; at least, he thought so):

"Jemimar, he'll do!"

And their conveyance came to a standstill, and Harry saw the portly
form of the said Jemima Blewcome descending the caravan-steps and
coming towards him.

He was not the least afraid, she looked so kind and good-natured.

"My dear!" said Mrs Blewcome, courteously, with the blandest of smiles.

"Yes," answered Harry, vacantly.

"My dear!" repeated Mrs Blewcome, "come along with me!"

Harry wanted his breakfast.  He was ravenously hungry.

"Give me something to eat, then," he said stolidly, "and I'll come."

"Get up into the van, my dear, and I will.  Here, Tim, help the boy up."

And Harry, nothing daunted, reached out his hand, and Timothy Blewcome
gravely assisted him up the steps.

Gazing admiringly at the gorgeous colouring of the door and sides of
the strange habitation on wheels, Harry sat himself down in one corner
of the van, and, somehow or other, soon began to feel quite at home.
Mrs Blewcome then ascended, the word was given, and the whole cavalcade
moved on.

It was the work of a moment; and there was Harry, not the least
realising his position, a member of a travelling menagerie.  It was a
change from the previous day, certainly.

The space of the apartment was somewhat confined, and the springs
seemed to be very bad, for the caravan jolted along in such a manner
that he could scarcely help upsetting the cup of bread and milk the
motherly hands of Mrs Blewcome had given him.

He never uttered a word, but ate his breakfast, and enjoyed it
thoroughly, thinking it far nicer than all the good things he had had
in the Doctor's study on the previous night.  Last night!  Could it
really be last night?  It seemed such a long, long while ago.

[Illustration: "He never uttered a word, but ate his breakfast, and
enjoyed it thoroughly."--WILTON SCHOOL, page 131.]

Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs Blewcome were conversing confidentially together
at the other end of the van; and, from what Harry could gather, this
appeared to be the state of the case:

The labours and responsibilities of the menagerie were becoming a
little too much for the proprietor and his wife.  They could not afford
to pay a man to help, nor did they care to enter into partnership with
any one.  They must pick up some lad who would do all sorts of odd
jobs, and require nothing more than his keep.  Plenty of old clothes
were always to be found.  And when Harry heard them congratulating
themselves on their "find," he knew they alluded to him, and that they
had marked out his future for him as a member of their enterprising
profession.

Shortly afterwards, they told him their plans, and what they wanted him
to do, and what they would do for him in return; and they spoke so
kindly, that poor, friendless, homeless Harry was thankful he had
fallen in with them, and began to feel a trifle happier.

When his father came home, he would be sure to search for him and find
him, of course.  Harry flattered himself.  Till then, what better could
he do than stay where he thought he should find kindness.  And in this
last supposition he was right.  First impressions go a long way.  Harry
took to his patrons at once, and did everything they told him willingly
and obediently, though at times the drudgery lay very hard upon him.
But the excitement and freshness of his strange new life kept him up;
and, moreover, he had a home, and food, and clothes, such as they were;
and when he ran away from school, he never knew, or even dreamt, how he
should get these.  So he must not mind the drudgery.

And Mr and Mrs Blewcome, in their turn, soon came to treat him quite as
a child of their own; so that one day, as they were rumbling along,
Harry (it is true, after numerous questionings) opened his heart to the
motherly Mrs Blewcome, and told her all his story.

But often at night he would lie awake for hours; realising then in the
quiet, when there was no stir to attract his thoughts, how utterly
lonely he was in the world, and his lips would send out his one sad
burthen:

"Mamma, mamma, why did you die? why did you die?"



CHAPTER XVII.

THE LOST FOUND.

Egerton expelled--Harry lost--Settling to work--Two years after--A
triumphal entry--The halt--Pre-occupied--A stranger--Found at last.


There was a great stir in Wilton on Harry's disappearance.  The single
policeman the village boasted was sent for and vigorously interrogated.

Had he seen any traces of a young gentleman answering to Harry's
description?

"No! he hadn't seen nothing!"

Was he on his beat that night?  Had he passed the school buildings?

He had stood talking for half-an-hour in one spot of the village, and
then had gone to bed.

"He hadn't thought there was any call for him to go round the village."

No wonder "he hadn't seen nothing!"

All other inquiries met with pretty much the same answer.  It was in
vain.  Harry was quite beyond all discovery.

So Doctor Palmer wrote at last to H.M.S. "Fervid," telling
Chief-engineer Campbell, honestly and openly, the whole proceeding;
concluding his letter with some kind and tender words of sympathy for
him in his sorrow.

Egerton was promptly packed off to his guardian, a stern, sour-faced
London lawyer (his parents were both dead), with an explicit account of
his conduct, and his consequent expulsion.

In a very short time things went on much as usual at the school, to all
external appearances.  The excitement had died the usual death.

It is not, however, to be wondered that both Doctor Palmer and Mr
Prichard felt very uneasy at the total failure of the attempts to
discover Harry's whereabouts.

Mrs Valentine's distress could know no bounds, and both she and Mrs
Bromley were full of indignation, woman-like, with everybody at the
school.  Boys and masters alike came in for blame from them.

But it was all of no avail.  Each day Harry was getting farther away
from Wilton; more lost than ever; settling down deeper and deeper into
that strange and motley mass of wanderers on the face of the earth,
whose individuality nobody recognises, or cares to recognise.

He had plenty to do.  And work is the one grand thing that keeps us
from too near communion with any sorrow it may be our lot to bear.  Yet
often and often, as they halted at different towns, Harry's heart would
grow very heavy, as he saw among the spectators, numerous boys of his
own age, well-dressed and cared-for, with happy faces full of
astonishment and wondering admiration.

And he thought of what might have been his lot, had it not been--for
whom?--had it not been for Egerton, he might, like them, have been in
his proper place, instead of the outcast that he was; and the old
feeling of revenge grew firmer and stronger with his growing years.

He must, he would, meet Egerton some day, and then, then he would
settle the account that was between them.

So time flew on, and Harry had been two years with Mr and Mrs Blewcome;
and these years of "roughing it" had physically done him good.  He had
grown fast, and happily proportionally strong with his height; and you
would not have recognised the Harry of fifteen in his common clothes,
as being the same fragile boy of thirteen whom you saw that night in
June weeping over his mother's grave in the moonlight.

Still, in spite of his dress, you could see he was a gentleman, every
inch his father's son.  For it is not to be supposed, as some might
hastily and ignorantly suppose, that Alan Campbell was not a gentleman,
because he was an engineer.

A chief-engineer on board one of Her Majesty's ships-of-war, and an
engine-driver of a locomotive, are two very different personages.  This
new branch of sea-service is of course to be traced to the change in
the Royal Navy from the old sailing vessels to the iron-clad
steamships.  And the post of chief-engineer, though not necessarily
requiring a gentleman by birth, yet often attracted those who, having
changed their plans in life, wished to join the service, when it was
too late to join as midshipmen.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

It was a bright June morning, nearly two years to the very day since
Harry had fallen in with Blewcome's Royal Menagerie; and after a long
journey through the greater part of the night, the cavalcade was
wearily entering a seaport town in the south of England.  Mr and Mrs
Blewcome were both asleep, snoring in unison within their gorgeously
painted caravan, and Harry was sitting astride one of the identical old
piebald steeds that had drawn Mr and Mrs B. for the last ten years.

On reaching a turnpike at the outskirts of the town, the proprietor and
proprietress of the Royal Menagerie arose from their slumbers.  And
this was a general signal for a "wake-up."  The whips were plied
lustily over the jaded horses, to give them a lively, not to say frisky
appearance.  The trumpets rose to the lips of the musicians, and the
drumsticks flew into the hands of the energetic drummer, and with an
elevating strain of discordant music, Blewcome's Royal Menagerie
majestically entered the town.

It did the hearts good of Blewcome and his spouse to see the
street-doors flung open, and the gaping faces of the suburban
inhabitants; and from the ever-increasing number of dirty little boys
who brought up the rear of the cavalcade, Mrs Blewcome began reckoning
on an unprecedented harvest of good luck.  And the trumpeters
trumpeted, and the drummer drummed; but as usual the latter had a long
way the best of it.

The morning was spent, as it always was on such occasions, in arranging
the caravans in the wonted horse-shoe shape.  At the square end of the
horse-shoe, so to speak, stretched the imposing canvas screen, painted
in a most elaborate style, by the hand of some artist whose name
unhappily has not been preserved for the benefit of posterity.  There
you might see the sheep-like lion, and the pig-like bear; leopards like
short-legged zebras, and monkeys most unpleasantly like human beings.
Indeed, ill-natured persons had been heard to declare one picture of a
very lean ancient ourang-outang bore a strong resemblance to Mr
Blewcome.  But, then, some people see such strange likenesses!

And there were painted on the screen sundry other impossible animals,
intended to attract  the outside spectators, and induce them to enter
and behold the wondrous originals within that magic circle of caravans.
And while all these preparations were being hurried on, the yellow
chariot and the band paraded the town at various periods of the day.

The first night at a new place was always a sort of refreshment to the
jaded show-people.  They had not much novelty, in good truth.  But on
these occasions they had the slight excitement of seeing new faces, and
speculating how their arrival would "draw" the populace.

Harry, of course, young as he was to the business of his present life,
quite naturally looked forward to the new places and new people.

At eight o'clock the band ascended the platform ranged in front of the
painted screen before alluded to, and set about making a great deal of
noise, and a goodly assemblage began to flock towards the show, and
carried quite away by the life-like pictorial representations of the
animals, first hesitated, then put their hands in their pockets,
hesitated again, and finally paid their sixpences and went in.

Mrs Blewcome was in high glee at the rapid way in which her exchequer
was filling.  Mr Blewcome was in the midst of a most instructive
harangue upon the nature and habits of that sportive animal, the
elephant, and Harry sat on the steps of the platform, where the band
was playing, and watched the people whom the show attracted, and those,
too, who kept perpetually passing to and fro between the centre of the
town and the docks.  For the menagerie had taken up its position in an
open space close by some wharves adjoining the docks.

By and by there appeared in the distance, coming from the docks, a
figure which Harry seemed to know.

Impossible!  It could not be!  Whom should he be likely to meet with,
here, miles and miles away from Wilton.  He strained his eyes.  The
figure came nearer, was just passing with a half-careless look at the
show.  A brave, stern face,--a sad, earnest face--a stout, manly form.
Harry looked again eagerly through the darkening shadows of the summer
evening, and then running hastily through the wondering, jostling,
bustling crowd, was at his father's side.

"Papa, papa!" he cried, "don't you know me?"

Alan Campbell turned suddenly and looked inquiringly at him, and then
putting his arm round his boy's neck, round the poor, common clothes,
kissed him with the fondness of one who had found what he had lost and
yearned to find; and, in a voice scarcely audible with emotion,
murmured repeatedly, "Thank God! thank God! found at last!"



CHAPTER XVIII.

FATHER AND SON.

Boots' errand--Mutual explanations--Mrs
Blewcome--Questioned--Astonished--Overwhelmed--The parting.


Half-an-hour afterwards Harry was sitting with his father in a private
room of the best hotel in the town, his heart full of delight, and very
much to the astonishment of the waiters, who could not understand why
the gentleman had brought in this young ragamuffin to eat with him, and
to be waited on by their dignified hands.

But the father was too reserved to enlighten them, and Harry too
bewildered at the strange events of that evening, to say anything at
supper which might betray the relationship to the attendant menials.

What was their surprise, however, when Mr Campbell gave directions for
word to be sent to the Royal Menagerie that was "exhibiting" in the
town, to request the proprietor or his wife, or both, to come at once
to the hotel, as he wished to speak with them.  There was quite a
contention down stairs, as to who should go on the degrading errand.

"A nasty low place," said the head waiter.  "He can't be good for much."

"Master had best look sharp after his bill," chimed in the
under-waiter; while the bar-maid, who was much more liberally-minded,
ejaculated to both--

"Law, there now, it's no odds to you!  The gentleman can do what he
likes, can't he?  You won't have to go.  It's Boots' place!"

So Boots went; and Boots was a very long time, too, for he took care to
have a good look round the show before he delivered the message to Mr
and Mrs Blewcome.  Having done which, he volunteered to escort them to
the hotel.

"Go, Jemimar!" said Mr Blewcome, tragically, as usual.  "I must not
quit my post!" and, with the air of a martyr, he motioned to Jemima to
start on her mysterious errand.  And so the obedient Mrs Blewcome
followed Boots as fast as her breath would suffer her.

Meanwhile Harry had told his long story; incoherently, it is true; but
Doctor Palmer in his letter had explained so much, that his father only
wanted to know what had befallen him since the night he had run away
from school; all of which Harry told him.  And then he, in his turn,
gladly and proudly related to his boy all that had taken place at
school.  How that he was proved innocent; how Doctor Palmer praised and
spoke highly of him in every way; and how delighted the whole school
had been when the guilty one had been detected, and he righted.

And you may be sure Harry's heart was very glad when he heard all
this--all this that he might have known two years ago.  Two years ago,
he could scarcely believe it.  Two years is such a long while to the
young.

Afterwards, they spoke of what was nearest to their hearts; the death
that happened far back on that afternoon in June, far away in the
little farm at Wilton by the sea.  And Alan made his boy repeat over
and over again all he could remember of those last days, and last words
uttered by the lips that were so dear to them both, and that never were
to touch theirs again.  And they had for the time entirely forgotten
about the message sent to the good people of the show; so that when
there came a rap at the door, and Mrs Blewcome entered, Mr Campbell
looked up, and said bluntly--

"Well, ma'am, who are you?"

This was too much for Mrs Blewcome.  She had been sent for by "this
man!" and he asked her who she was!  She drew herself up, and answered
with dignity:

"Mrs Blewcome! of Blewcome's Royal Menaggery!" and, catching sight of
Harry, she exclaimed--

"So it's you as have taken our boy off, is it?"

"Sit down, my good woman, sit down, and I will explain my reason for
sending for you."

Mrs Blewcome deposited the enormous umbrella which she invariably
carried in the finest weather, upon the clean white tablecloth, and,
seating herself with a bump upon a chair, clasped two very hot hands
upon her lap, and waited.

"When, and where, did you find this little boy?" asked Mr Campbell.

Mrs Blewcome did not like this point-blank questioning.  She fidgetted
in her chair and said nothing.  Mr Campbell repeated his question.  Mrs
Blewcome repeated her movements, expressive of unwillingness to reply.

"Very well," said Mr Campbell, good-humouredly; "as you won't tell me,
I'll tell you.  You found him, two years ago, about three miles outside
Wilton, a small village on the Bristol Channel.  He had run away from
school.  He told you a long tale about himself, and, among other
things, that he had a father at sea.  I am his father.  I only landed
here last night, and, by a mere chance, have thus stumbled across my
boy.  Had I hunted for him, I dare say I never should have found him."

Mrs Blewcome sat in astonishment.  After she had somewhat recovered,
she burst out--

"Well, there, to be sure, I am so glad; dear boy; but I don't know what
I shall do without 'im.  I don't know what I shall do, to be sure; and
Blewcome getting that hindolentlike!"

This good-natured, believing speech, touched Alan's heart.  There was
no indignation at her prize being carried off by one who was a mere
stranger to her.  There was no doubting or disbelieving his reality as
the boy's father, but only unselfish joy that Harry found his own again
at last!

"You are a good soul," said Mr Campbell, quite affected.  "I cannot
thank you enough for all your care of my boy.  It's been a strange home
for him, but that's no fault of yours.  I shall never forget you.  Here
is a card; and if you are ever in need, write to me, and I will do all
I can for you."

"So I s'pose I must say good-bye to 'im, sir," asked Mrs Blewcome, with
trembling voice.

"Well, yes," meditated Mr Campbell, "I suppose you must."

And the parting on both sides convinced him how truly kind the good
woman had been to his boy, and how she had completely won his heart.

"Don't be offended, Mrs Blewcome," he added; "but here's a trifle for
you, it'll help you to paint up your caravans.  I dare say they'll be
none the worse for a fresh bit of colour."

"Thank you, sir, thank you," said Mrs Blewcome, with open eyes and
hands.  "I'm not a-going to be proud;" and she didn't look as if she
were, as she slipped Alan's ill-spared ten-pound note into her pocket.

"Good-bye, sir.  Good-bye, my dear boy!  Here's a ticket for the show,
sir, if I may make so bold; we've got some werry fine beastesses, sir.
Good-bye, dear!"  And Mrs Blewcome curtsied herself from the room, with
moist eyes and a heart genuinely saddened, for Harry had grown very
dear to her during their two years' strange acquaintance.



CHAPTER XIX.

AT WILTON ONCE MORE.

"Vengeance" still--Driving to Wilton--At the farm--In the
churchyard--The grammar-school--Wilton left again--Life's business.


Shortly after the departure of Mrs Blewcome, a large parcel was brought
into the room, containing clothes for Harry; and how glad he was when,
in the course of about half-an-hour, he stood fully arrayed before the
looking-glass in his father's bedroom at the hotel.  Once more he was
in his rightful position; he was with his father, an outcast no more;
no longer dependent on the doubtful fortunes of two show-people.  But
the revengeful feeling had not been stricken down within him.  On the
contrary, he only thought to himself, that now more possible than ever
was revenge; now more than ever would there be a chance of his meeting
with Egerton.  You see, he was such a mere child still, and knew so
little of the world, that he thought everything was easy.

His father soon noticed the change in his tone whenever Egerton's name
was mentioned--the flushing cheeks, the eyes that lit up with anger;
and though he himself was far, very far, from palliating Egerton's
conduct, yet he felt obliged to speak seriously to his boy.  But though
Harry listened, and promised to try and crush out his passion, he could
not rid himself of it; it still clung to him; and when once the chiding
words of his father ceased, he again brooded over his purpose of
revenge.

The following morning they left the hotel.  The waiters were now
abjectly admiring, and in the most mellifluous tones that signified
their "great expectations," expressed to the heedless Mr Campbell their
congratulations on the discovery of his son.  They could scarcely
believe their eyes at the sight of Harry, the fine handsome boy, with
curling sunny hair and gentlemanly bearing, when they thought of the
untidy, raggedly-clad lad, upon whom they had been obliged to wait, the
previous night.

But then, these sort of people only estimate a gentleman by the
grandeur of his dress, and in the present day it is reasonably to be
expected they make many and serious mistakes.

It was not long before Harry and his father were both seated in the
train that was to carry them to Wilton.  A wearisome journey it was,
that hot dusty day, and Harry was very tired, when, about half-past
seven, they reached the nearest station to Wilton, a small town called
Oldwell.

From this place they took a cab and drove to Wilton; and how familiar
it was to them both as they bowled along the leafy summer lanes in the
June twilight, and into the well-remembered village!

By Alan's direction, the cabman drove them to the farm; and there,
having deposited them and their luggage, turned his horse's head, and
departed.

The meeting may easily be imagined.  Two years had not made much
difference in the good Mrs Valentine, though that time had done so much
for Harry.  And the two years of doubt and anxiety for "her boy," as
she called him, had only increased her affection.  But it was a sad,
sad pleasure, this meeting; a sad pleasure this, their return to the
little farm where there had been so much of gladness and so much of
sorrow for them all.  And lips quivered, and eyes were red with
starting tears, and scarcely a word was uttered.

While his father wandered from room to room, lingering over each spot
that he associated with her, his dead, loved wife, Harry sat in the
window-seat of the oak-panelled parlour, and, pressing his face against
the glass, looked out across the churchyard, and remembered how he sat
thus on that far-off evening when his father said good-bye for ever to
her who slept yonder near the ivied church-porch.

Presently Alan entered the room, and taking Harry's hand, walked with
him to the churchyard.  And there, over the grave carefully, lovingly
tended by Mrs Valentine, they stood, father and son, and not a word was
said.  Was not their sorrow too great for words?  And, as of old, the
twilight breezes crept in and out among the leaves of the lime-trees,
and round the grey church tower.

The next morning was one of excitement to Harry.  There was first a
visit to Mr and Mrs Bromley, who were as delighted as they were
surprised to see the two.  And then came the visit to the school.
Never, as long as he lived, did Harry forget that morning.  How the
Doctor's sternness all vanished; how he welcomed him and his father as
if they had been his own flesh and blood; how he conducted them to the
big school-room, and told the boys who it was (for Harry was so
altered, scarcely any one knew him); how the room rung with deafening
cheers; how the masters shook hands with them; and how he left, as the
school's hero, he who, but two days since, had been roaming about the
country with a travelling menagerie.

Yes! it was a grand time for Harry.  Yet even this joy, even his sorrow
and loneliness at his mother's grave, did not banish from his heart the
wish for revenge.  He had shut his ears to the words--"Vengeance is
mine: I will repay, saith the Lord."

Mr Campbell had soon made up his mind with regard to Harry's future.
The two years he had been away from school were, at his age, a most
serious loss to him; and all idea of his going to Oxford must be
abandoned.  There was not time for him to make progress sufficient to
enable him to do well there; and unless he could do well, and help
himself by gaining a scholarship, his father could not afford to send
him to the University.

So he arranged that he should remain four years with a well-to-do
farmer of his acquaintance in Herefordshire, and learn farming; at the
end of that time, he should go to Australia, and try his fortune there,
where so many were filling their pockets and returning to England rich
men.

Within a week of the visit to Wilton, Harry was at his new abode in
Herefordshire, and his father once more had joined his vessel.

It had been a sad parting from Wilton.  But they had work before them
both; and though their hearts sorely ached at saying good-bye to that
grassy mound in Wilton churchyard, Alan spoke to his boy (feeling,
himself, the truth of what he spoke), in the words of the noble-hearted
American poet:

  "Life is real, life is earnest,
    And the grave is not its goal!"

And again,

  "Let us then be up doing,
    With a heart for any fate,
  Still achieving, still pursuing,
    Learn to labour and to wait."



CHAPTER XX.

AVENGED AT LAST.

Homeward bound--Man overboard--Self-sacrifice--Noble revenge.


Fifteen years since Harry Campbell landed in Australia, a fine,
stalwart, young man of nineteen!  Fifteen years of toil, crowned by
success, and he was on his way to England; home to his father, a quiet,
grey, old man of some three score years; home to Wilton, where the
sailor had taken up his abode, near his loved one's grave, in the farm,
still kept by Mrs Valentine!

Full of hope and eagerness was Harry (one must call him by his boyish
name still, though he is now a man of thirty-four), on his homeward
voyage, over the running waves.

He had not seen much of the other passengers; in fact, he had kept
almost entirely to himself, only entering into conversation with the
captain, or any of the ship's crew that took his fancy.  And many were
the eyes of disappointment that in vain sought the friendship of the
reserved, wealthy, homeward-bound Englishman.

He was talking to the man at the helm, when his eye caught sight of
some one sitting, carelessly smoking, in a dangerous position near an
open part of the ship's bulwarks.  He abruptly ended his conversation,
and walking across the deck, said--

"Excuse me, sir, but you are not in a very safe place."

The man addressed started, and as he turned hastily, as if to see who
had presumed to dictate to him, slipped, and, clutching fruitlessly at
Harry's outstretched arms, fell headlong into the sea.  It was the work
of a second, but in that second Harry had recognised Egerton's face!

"Man overboard! man overboard!" was the cry.

The vessel was running at a rapid pace through the water, so that she
had already left the struggler in the waves, far behind.

"'Bout ship!" came the word of command; but long before the vessel
answered to the helm, Harry had flung off his coat and hat, and leapt
from the stern, down into the roaring waves, and striking out
vigorously, reached Egerton.

It was a hard battle he had there with the waters, and he thought the
boat, that speedily left the ship, would never reach them.  With one
hand he held up Egerton's head, while with the other he kept himself
afloat.  But the seconds, that seemed like hours, went on, and the boat
did not come.

He was growing weaker, he knew it; his arm was stiffening, and Egerton
struggling in the water with all the agony of a drowning man, hampered
his movements and well nigh bore him under.

Would the boat never come?  He raised himself with an effort and sent
his voice along the trough of the waves, "Boat ahoy!"

That shout was heard, but it had robbed him of his remaining strength.
His eyes were dim; his brain swam; he was losing consciousness, his
gallant arm fell from beneath the head it had supported, and he sank!

A few seconds afterwards the half-drowned body of Egerton was dragged
into the boat that, guided by Harry's shout, had found and reached the
spot.  In the confusion of rescuing the one, the other had drifted
away; and with heavy hearts the sailors rowed back to the ship.  The
life that had just been snatched from the waters must not be sacrificed
by delay.  Restoratives, care, and watching did their work, and
Egerton's life was spared.

But where was he who rescued him?  The drowned body was picked up the
following day; for the captain tacked about, and would not leave till
it was recovered.  And one quiet evening the noble body that met death
to save a foe, was lowered over the vessel's side, into its most
fitting resting-place, the waves it had battled with, there to lie
until the sea shall give up her dead.

And this was Harry Campbell's revenge!





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