Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Charley's Log - A Story of Schoolboy Life
Author: Leslie, Emma
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 "Charley's Log - A Story of Schoolboy Life" ***

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



[Illustration: Cover art]



[Frontispiece: WRITING UP THE LOG.  _Page 8._]



[Illustration: Title page]



  CHARLEY'S LOG.

  A Story of Schoolboy Life.


  _By the Author of_
  "Soldier Fritz, and the Enemies he Fought;"
  "Glaucia, the Greek Slave," etc.



  LONDON:
  THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
  56, Paternoster Row; 65, St. Paul's Churchyard;
  and 164, Piccadilly.



[Illustration: Contents headpiece]



CONTENTS.

CHAP.

I. The Two Friends

II. Disenchantment

III. The Skating Party

IV. The Accident

V. Cribs

VI. Was it Robbery?

VII. A Surprise

VIII. Running Away to Sea

IX. Conclusion



{Illustration: Chapter I headpiece]



CHAPTER I.

THE TWO FRIENDS.

October 4th.--I am going to keep a log.  I shall have to do it
by-and-by when I am Captain Charles Stewart, and so, as I have been
sent to school to prepare for my work in the world by-and-by, this
will be helping in the preparation.  Mamma often talks about my work
in the world, but I am almost sure there is no sea in the world she
is thinking about, while to me--well, the sea is all the world to me.
But mamma wants me to forget it, and all Uncle Alfred's wonderful
stories about it, and that is why I have been sent here to school;
but Tom Haslitt is with me, and is not likely to let me forget uncle
and his sea yarns.  Tom is to be my lieutenant by-and-by, and as he
will have to help with the ship's log then, he is to take a turn with
this.

It was kind of mamma to arrange for Tom and I to have this little
bedroom--cabin, I mean--all to ourselves; but I am afraid she would
not be pleased to see how we have rigged it up, considering that she
wants me to mount Uncle Charles's office stool by-and-by.

I hope that tarred yarn Tom has stowed away under the bed don't smell
too strong.  The compasses and charts and bits of boats we've got
hanging about are pretty ornaments, and by-and-by, when we get our
ship finished, our little cock-loft will be furnished.

I can't say much about the fellows here at present, but they look a
very quiet lot, and one with fair hair certainly ought to have it put
in curl-papers every night.  I shan't have much to say to him, I
know; give him a wide berth, and stick close to Tom.  If we could
only have gone somewhere else, some school where they train sailors,
I might learn something, but it will do me no good to come here, I'm
sure, and I've told mamma so.

October 6th.--The captain says I must help with the log.  I'd rather
heave up a couple of hammocks here and bundle these bedsteads out of
the window, but I suppose we may look out for squalls if we do too
much in the nautical line, for Charley has got into a scrape already.
What they want to keep housemaids for at a boys' school I can't
think, unless it is that they may go poking about where they are not
wanted.  I'm sure that rope yarn did not smell much, but she found it
out, that housemaid did; and when Charley tried to get it back there
was a row.

The fellows here are not so bad, when you come to know them, but I
don't think I shall ever like the governor--the Doctor, as everybody
calls him--or the under masters either; although I think we shall be
able to do very much as we like here, as we have done at home; at
least, Charley and I mean to have our own way in most things, if we
possibly can.

October 10th.--What a place this is for rows!  Everybody looks as
mild as turnips, from the governor down to the housemaid that took
our yarn.  But looks are deceitful, I suppose; at least, Tom and I
won't have such a pleasant, easy time as we expected.  If things get
much worse I shall write and ask mamma to fetch me home; I'm sure she
wouldn't let me stop if I didn't like it, for I have always had my
own way about everything but this sea scheme, and, like all mothers,
she's afraid of the sea, of course--thinks it a monster that will
certainly swallow me up.

I don't know what to make of the governor.  Yesterday he called me
into his room, and gave me a private lecture about duty and
conscience, and a lot more about my lessons never being properly
learned, and about school being a little world where character was
tested, and made stronger and nobler or worse, according as we used
our opportunities or yielded to our temptations.  I told Tom all
about it afterwards, and we laughed over it together; but I cannot
forget it, or the grave, earnest way in which the governor
spoke--exactly as though he knew that Tom and I had made up our minds
not to learn more than we were obliged.

October 14th.--Tom hates keeping the log, but I tell him he will have
to do it by-and-by, and so he ought to get his hand in now; but he
says we've come to school to have a good time and as much fun as we
can.  Well, so we have, I suppose; at least, that was all I thought
about it until lately; but, somehow, mamma's talk about preparing for
our life-work, and the governor's talk about it being a test and
trial of character, have got mixed up in my mind, and it has made me
remember that mamma is not rich, and that I am her only child, and I
shall have to work by-and-by.  I mean to work and take care of her,
buy a carriage for her to ride in, and everything she wants when I am
a captain and have made my fortune.  But I am afraid I shall have to
begin by running away to sea.  I've quite made up my mind to do it,
for mamma is more than a little unreasonable about this, she won't
even let me talk about it to her.  But there, I won't grumble; she's
a dear mother, and reasonable enough in everything else, and has
always let me have my own way about most things.

Tom has got himself into another scrape, and the governor has
threatened to separate us--send Tom to another room and put another
fellow in here.  I should write home to the mater at once if he did
that, for it would upset everything, and the place would be
unbearable.  Some of the fellows grumbled, too, yesterday, that we
were always in the shed they call the workshop instead of in the
playground.  What is it to them if we like to make boats instead of
throwing a ball about?  We can do as we like in the playground, I
suppose.  I hate cricket, that they make such a fuss about here; and
if they drag me into playing it they'll soon find I'm no good, and
wish me out again.

October 20th.--This is the last chance I shall get of writing in
Charley's log, I expect, for I am to be turned out of his cabin, and
Miss Chandos is to take my place.  I mean to call him "Miss" in the
playground now as well as between ourselves, for I hate the thought
of his taking my place here.  I wonder how Charley will like the
young lady.  Miss Chandos don't seem to like the prospect much more
than I do, but we dare not rebel.

Charley is packing up my traps while I do the log, grumbling all the
time, and threatening to serve out Miss Chandos.  The young lady will
not have it all her own way, I can tell her.  There will be lively
times with her and Charley.  I wish I could stay and see the fun, but
I shall hear all about it to-morrow, and Charley has promised to put
it all down in the log.  He says it will be good fun to read this log
over to ourselves by-and-by.  We mean to keep it to read on board our
ship of an evening, and many a good laugh we shall have over it, I
dare say.  I wonder whether we shall ever laugh at this turn out.  I
don't think I ever shall, for Charley and I have always been chums
ever since I can remember, so that it seems like--like something
dreadful to have him turned over to Miss Chandos.

October 22nd.--No more of dear old Tom's sprawling writing in our
log, for I wouldn't take it down into the schoolroom for the other
fellows to see; no, not for anything.  Yes, poor Tom's gone, and Miss
Chandos has arrived.  I soon let her know what sort of a welcome she
was likely to have from me.  Tom's traps had hardly been bundled out
before the housemaid came with her hands full, and white-faced Miss
Chandos behind her.

"Is this your lady's maid, Miss Chandos?" I asked.  "Does she curl
your hair and powder your face?"

His face was scarlet enough then, but he only said, "Thank you, Ann;
if you will put down those things I will put them into their places."

"Oh, Ann," I said, with a sniff; "you had better come back, Ann, and
bring the curl-papers.  Or do you use curling-irons?" I asked.

Ann looked indignant, and Chandos too, but neither said a word, and
she went out of the room.

When we were left to ourselves, and Chandos had put away some of his
things, he suddenly turned round and said, "I hope we shall be
friends, Stewart."

I hardly knew what to say for a minute, for I felt surprised and half
ashamed of myself; but, thinking of Tom, and what he expected to
hear, I made a mock bow, and replied, "Gentlemen must always be
friends with a young lady.  Tom and I will be delighted, Miss
Chandos;" and then I stopped, for such a look came into his fair
girl-face as never was seen in a girl's face before, I fancy.  There
was no more said, and I went downstairs feeling somehow as though I
had not got the best of it after all, and that I might even be
mistaken in thinking Miss Chandos such a coward.  But after a little
time spent in the playground with Tom I forgot Miss Chandos and her
looks, until Tom reminded me of it, and I promised to let him know
everything that happened.

Of course something was bound to happen then.  How could I meet Tom
in the morning and tell him the young lady had slept in peace, and
everything had passed off comfortably?  But what could I do?  Tom and
I generally had some fun throwing our clothes at each other, or
shooting paper pellets from under the bedclothes after we had
scrambled into bed, until Swain came and took the light away, and
then we ducked our heads down and went to sleep.  But there was no
telling whether Miss Chandos would tumble into bed as quickly as we
did.  I certainly was not surprised to see her sit down and take up a
book that lay on the drawers and begin to read.  I let her read in
peace for about five minutes, and then snatched it away and flung it
across the room.  I really did not see that it was a Bible until it
was out of my hand; but I did not mean to let Chandos know that, or
that I felt sorry for throwing it.

"Don't do that again, Stewart," he said, as he went to pick it up;
and I burst out laughing to hide my vexation, and asked when Ann was
coming to do his hair.

He took no notice of my question, and I tumbled into bed, wondering
what Chandos would do next.  I had my pea-shooter and a good supply
of pellets ready for whatever happened; but I certainly expected to
see him follow my example and tumble into bed.  But instead of doing
this he kneeled down at the side of the bed as though I had not been
there, which rather startled me, for I thought he would and ought to
be afraid to attempt it after what I had already done.  I waited a
minute or two, and then, taking a good aim, hit him right in the back
of the neck.  It made him start, I could see, and I laughed, though I
expected he would jump up and give me a good pommelling the next
minute, for it was clear he was no coward, as I had thought at first,
and he would never have a better chance of pitching in, if he meant
to fight it out.  But no, she kept on, and so did I--pop, pop, pop at
his head and the back of his neck, until it tingled again, I know.
But she wouldn't complain; wanted to make believe she hadn't felt it,
and said "Good night," as though I was the most civil and obliging
companion in the world.  It was plucky, anyhow, and I like pluck; but
we shall see who gives in first, Miss Chandos; it will take a good
deal to make me tire of pea-shooting, I can tell you, and it will be
good practice too.

October 24th.--How Tom and I have laughed over that plucky Miss
Chandos!  I am not sure that the fellow deserves to be called "Miss"
either, for he is plucky right through, I know--the sort of fellow
that would walk up to a cannon's mouth without flinching if he was a
soldier and it was his duty.  What a splendid sailor he would make!
I could fancy him steering his ship right under the enemy's guns if
it was necessary, but never yielding an inch or knowing when he was
beaten.  He's beaten me at pea-shooting, and made me feel ashamed of
myself.  I wonder what Miss Chandos is going to be--a parson, I
should think; and he means to do his life-work thoroughly, and is
beginning now, as I am in keeping this log.

It seems queer that we shall all be men very soon--some sailors, some
soldiers, some lawyers, and some tied to a merchant's desk, which is
mother's highest ambition for me.  She talks grandly sometimes about
merchant princes, and how uncle will give me a share in his business;
but I always try to get out of the way, for I mean to run away to sea
when the time comes, and I hate to be a hypocrite.

October 30th.--Another row.  I knew it would come if they turned us
out of our workshop; but the best of the fun is, they don't know who
has been up to this mischief, though Tom and I are both suspected, I
believe.  For a wonder, though, I had no hand in this, I only wish I
had.  Tom managed cleverly, too, to turn all the farm-yard out as he
did--pigs and cows, ducks and hens; and didn't they enjoy their
hour's feast in the garden!  I fancy I see the governor now as he
came rushing out in time to see the last of his dahlias disappear,
and then the whooping and helter-skelter charge of the servants, with
the governor at the head of the fray.  This will be something to
laugh over many a night when the wind is blowing great guns, and we
are pitching and tossing so that it is impossible to read or write up
the ship's log, which we shall have to keep then.  The picture of
to-day's fun will rise up before us long after everybody else has
forgotten it.  Plucky Tom!  I wish I had had a share of the fun in
setting the animals at liberty.  I don't dare ask how he did it all
yet, for the fuss is at its height, and everybody is being
questioned.  Of course, suspicions go for nothing, and nobody really
saw who did it, and so Tom is not likely to be found out unless he
splits himself, which is not very probable, unless somebody else is
charged with it, and then of course he would make a clean breast of
it.



CHAPTER II.

DISENCHANTMENT.

November 1st.--Chandos has got himself into a scrape, and nobody
seems to know what it is about.  I have asked several of the fellows,
but they only shake their heads and tell me I know more about it than
they do.  I am sure I do not; but as Chandos shares my room they
think I must be in his secrets, I suppose.  I cannot help wondering
what it is--something that has got the governor's back up awfully, I
can see.  Chandos has been locked up all day in the punishment-room,
and nobody seems to know whether he will be let out to-night.  I wish
I was sure he was not coming, and I would try to get Tom in here, and
we'd have some fun for once.  I wonder what the young lady has been
up to.

November 14th.--I have not written up my log for a fortnight, and now
I have only a miserable tale to tell.  At first I thought I'd give up
the log, as Tom will never be my lieutenant now to laugh over it; but
I'll keep on with it a bit longer.  I thought we should often laugh
over Tom's setting the farm-yard at liberty as he did, but somehow it
seems to have been a dreadful trouble to everybody; but no one can
feel just as I do about it, for it has taken my old chum away from
me, and we can never be again what we have been.  What did they want
to make such a fuss about it for, and punish Miss Chandos?  The
governor must have been as blind as a mole to think Chandos had
anything to do with it.  It was ever so long before I found out the
tops and bottoms of the business; but at last I found one of the
juniors could tell something, and I got him by himself and threatened
to break every bone in his skin if he didn't shell out all he knew,
and then it came out that he had seen Chandos close to the farm-yard
just before the animals were turned out, and the miserable little
muff had gone with that tale to the governor as soon as the row began.

"But you know it wasn't Chandos," I said, thinking he must have seen
Tom too.

"Wasn't it?" said the youngster.

I gave him a shake, and ran off to Chandos, who was just going into
the cricket-field.  "What's this row about you and the farm-yard,
Miss Chandos?" I said.

He seems to be getting used to his name, and only said, "Oh, it's all
right now, Stewart."

"Do you know who did turn the things out?" I said.

"Do you?" he asked.

I nodded.  "It wasn't you, and I didn't think you knew anything about
it.  Suspicions go for nothing, you know."

"Well, let this pass.  It's over now, and let's drop it."

"But you've been punished for what you had no hand in.  Did the
governor think you did it?"

"I don't think he believed I actually did it myself; but he said I
was worse than those who did it if I was screening them, for I was
encouraging insubordination in the school.  Do you know who was
suspected, Stewart?"

"Me!"

"Yes; I cleared you at once, but I couldn't say any more, and that
vexed Dr. Mellor."

"Oh, the Doctor be hanged!  Why didn't you go to Tom and tell him the
fix you was in?  I suppose you knew he did it?"

"I couldn't help knowing it where I was, and I did contrive to say a
word to him about going to the Doctor, but--"

"You told Tom you were to be punished for his fault, and he wouldn't
make a clean breast of it to the governor!" I said, angrily.

"There, I told you it was better to let it pass, Stewart; you could
do no good now," said Chandos, walking away.

But a sudden thought had seized me, and I placed myself in his path.
"But you shall give me a plain answer to my question," I said; "not
that I will believe it of Tom.  It is you that are the sneak; you
look one, with your white face and quiet ways, and I know you are
only trying to set me against my old chum!"  I was almost mad with
rage, and longed to knock Chandos down; and for a minute he looked as
though he would fight it out, but the next he had pushed me aside,
and was striding on to take his place as long-stop in the game that
was just beginning.  I looked after him for a minute, thinking I
would go and have it out, when I suddenly thought of going to Tom,
and turned back to the workshop, where Tom was busy hacking at some
wood for a rudder.  "I say, old fellow, did Chandos tell you he was
taking your punishment for the farm-yard scrape?" I asked.

"Oh, never mind Chandos; come and rub down this mast," said Tom,
turning away.

"Then--he--did--tell--you!" I said, slowly.

"Didn't you know Chandos was a sneak before to-day?" said Tom,
sharply.

"But--but tell me all about it, Tom," I said, rubbing my eyes, and
feeling as though I must be dreaming.

"Oh, there ain't much to tell--nothing to make such a fuss about.
The fellow came to me, and said he had got into a scrape through the
things getting out; but of course I didn't believe him.  This was an
easy way of getting me into a row, as well as helping himself out."

"But, Tom, if he took your punishment, you know--"

"Bah! my punishment!  The governor isn't such a duffer as to think
that white-faced milksop did that mischief.  He hasn't pluck enough.
I always told you he was a sneak, and now he's proved it, for he said
the thing should always be a secret between us, whether I told or
not, and now he's run open-mouthed to you with the tale."

"No, he hasn't."  And without another word I walked out of the
workshop.  I didn't feel as though I wanted to fight Tom; it didn't
seem as though I could fight, for I couldn't understand things a bit.
Somehow they'd got so mixed up in this row that Tom seemed to be
Chandos, and Chandos Tom, and whether I should wake and find they
were all right, or Tom running about with Chandos's head on his
shoulders, I couldn't tell for a little while.

But presently Chandos came walking through the gate on which I was
mounted, and certainly he had his own straw-coloured hair safe
enough.  He didn't condescend to look at me as he passed, and I felt
as though I hated him for robbing me of Tom.  What right had he to do
it--he with that white face to be so plucky?  And not even for a
friend either, for Tom is no friend to him any more than I am, and
all the school have adopted our private name, and call him Miss
Chandos.  It isn't as though he didn't care about it either, for I
can see he does.  No boy likes to be thought a girl, or have a girl's
name tacked to him; and Chandos is like the rest, but he takes it
quietly, although I fancy now he would be as good in a stand-up fight
as Tom himself.

Bother Tom!  I don't want to think about him now.  I wish he had left
the pigs and cows alone, or I hadn't been in such a fume to find out
all about it.  I don't like to think he has been mean and
cowardly--my brave, bold Tom.  Anyhow, I shall always hate Miss
Chandos for her share in the matter, and I'll call her Miss Chandos
more than ever now.  It's been a miserable time, somehow, ever since
I heard the tops and bottoms of this row, for though Tom and I have
never said a word about it since, we both seem to remember it always,
and we keep apart as we never did before.

November 20th.--All the school is in a ferment about a special prize
that is to be given for the best essay on something or other.  I'm
not going to try, so it don't trouble me much; but it seems as though
everybody else is, and they can talk of nothing else.  Even Tom is
going in for this, it seems, though he don't stand much chance, I
fancy; but he wants a watch, and thinks he may as well try for this.
The weather is dull and cold, and our shipbuilding is almost at a
standstill.  We haven't done much since that row, and things are
altogether miserable.  Tom seems to be making new friends among the
other fellows, and I've dropped shooting at Miss Chandos and hiding
her Bible, so that altogether I'm rather glum, and ready to quarrel
with anybody that is good for a stand-up fight.  I know everybody
thinks me a bear, and I am, I think, for I don't care for anybody or
anything now.

November 30th.--It seems as though there was never to be an end to
this row, which has made everything so miserable for me.  The
governor has taken it into his head to consider the matter still
unsettled, although Chandos took Tom's punishment, and now poor
Chandos has been told that he can't try for this prize.  It's the
meanest shame, for Chandos stood as good a chance as anybody, if not
better than most, and now he isn't to be allowed that chance.

He tries to hide his disappointment, but I know he had begun to read
up, and yesterday I asked him if he didn't mean to split on Tom, and
tell the governor all about it.

"I wish Haslitt would do it himself," he said; "it would be better
for everybody if he did."

"Of course it would; and I'll tell him so, and the governor too, if
you won't."

"No, no, don't do that, Stewart; the school would send you to
Coventry if you split on another fellow about anything.  And
besides--"

"Well, what more can the school do?" I asked, angrily.

"Oh, nothing, only your splitting would do no good now, I fancy."

"Well, Tom shall make a clean breast of it, and give up his chance of
this prize.  It ain't much of a chance for him, and so it won't be
much for him to give it up; but you'll get it, Chandos--at least I
hope you will;" and then I ran off to find Tom and have it out with
him.

I hardly knew how to begin, but I did it somehow; and then Tom said,
crossly, "What a fuss you make about nothing!  I suppose Miss Chandos
has set you on.  Has she taught you to say your prayers yet?"

"Saying my prayers has nothing to do with this, Tom, you know that."

"Oh, hasn't it!  I thought the young lady was making a milksop of
you, you've been so glum, lately."

"Now look here, Tom, I haven't told you what I thought about this
sneakish business, but I will if you don't make a clean breast of it
to the governor at once."

"Well, who cares what you think?" said Tom, laughing; and he tried to
push past me.

But I wasn't going to have that.  "Now, look here, old fellow, we
have been chums for ever so long, and I never knew you to do anything
mean before, and I believe you're sorry for this; now make a clean
breast of it, Tom, and let Miss Chandos go in for this prize."

"Has she told you she's sure to get it?"

"No, of course not; but you know she'd stand a good chance--a better
chance than you do."

"I don't know so much about that, and I don't see why I should give
up my chance just to suit your whims.  It wouldn't help Miss Chandos
either."

"Yes, it would.  The governor wants to get at the bottom of this
farmyard affair, and that is why he is so hard on poor Chandos."

"Poor Chandos!  The young lady has bewitched you, Charley!  As if
this had anything to do with that old row!  She knows how to come it
over you, the mean sneak!  As though she didn't know this was for
another affair altogether."

"I don't believe it, Tom."

"Don't you?  Ask some of the other fellows, then.  Here, Jackson,
what did you tell me Miss Chandos had been doing to lose her chance
of the prize?" called Tom.

"I don't know now.  Collins told me it was some artful dodge the
governor had found out.  Anyhow, I'm glad she's out, for the chances
will be pretty evenly balanced among us now; but Chandos always goes
in for such a lot of grind that he'd be sure to swamp us all.  Do you
go in for it, Stewart?" he asked.

"I'm not fond of grind, and shouldn't have a ghost of a chance, any
more than Tom has."

"Oh, well, Haslitt will pass muster, I dare say, but we ain't much
afraid of him," laughed Jackson, as he ran away.

"I tell you the fellows will kick up no end of a row now if they find
I gave up for Chandos to go in; not that I think he would mind.  He's
a sneak, and has just told you this to hide something he has been
doing himself."

"Well, I shouldn't care for what the fellows said, Tom.  They want to
keep Chandos out--a few of them, I don't believe they all do--just
because they will stand a better chance of the prize; and it's mean
and cowardly, and I wouldn't help them in it if I were you."

"But I tell you, Charley, you mustn't go against a lot like this.
I'm beginning to find out that you must think of others a bit when
you are at school like this, and--and--"  There Tom stopped.

"Look here, Tom; it may be all very well to mind what other fellows
say a bit, but I never knew you to do a mean thing in my life before,
and I shall wish we had never come here if it's going to make you a
sneak now."

"Who says I am a sneak?  Chandos, I suppose?"

"No, it isn't Chandos.  He hasn't been your chum as I have; he didn't
know what you were before you came to school, and never talks about
you--"

"Only to call me a sneak, I suppose?"

"No, he has never called you a sneak; but I do, and mean it, if you
won't go to the governor and make a clean breast of everything."

"It would do no good, I tell you, Charley, and the other fellows
would be down upon me directly if I did.  Three or four are going in
for this prize that wouldn't try if Chandos wasn't out.  I tell you
they'd never forgive me if I split now.  I'll promise this, Charley,
I'll never get into a scrape like it again.  I wish now I'd gone to
the governor at once about it."

"I wish you had; but it isn't too late, you know, now, Tom.  Come on
at once; we shall find him in the library.  I'll go with you if you
like."

I really thought Tom would go then, but just as we were turning round
Jackson ran to tell him Collins and the rest wanted him; and Tom went
off, calling to me,

"It's no good, Charley, I can't do it."

I felt half ashamed to meet Chandos after this, for he knew I had
been to talk to Tom, and I couldn't bear him to think he was such a
sneak as he has been over this; but there was no getting out of it,
for he was standing by the lobby door as I went in, and looked at me
in such a way that I said, crossly,

"Why don't you go to the governor yourself and tell him all about it?"

"Then Haslitt won't go?"

"No, he won't," I said.  "This beastly school has made him a
sneak--he never was before; he never served anybody such a trick, and
he never would if he hadn't come here."

"Well, don't get so angry about it, Stewart.  My mother says one of
the principal uses of a school is to try what mettle we are of.  We
cannot tell whether a character is strong or weak until it has been
tried, and the temptations and failures at school prepare us better
for the temptations of the world afterwards."

"What do I care about the temptations of the world?  It's this school
that has spoiled Tom, and he will never be my chum again, and I shall
have to look out for another lieutenant for my ship;" and I rushed
off indoors, for fear Chandos should say any more, for I could not
bear to hear him speak against Tom.



CHAPTER III.

THE SKATING PARTY.

November 30th.--I haven't spoken to Tom for a week, but he's so mixed
up with the other fellows now that he don't seem to mind; but I am
very dull, and it makes me very miserable not to have Tom working
with me at our boats as we used to do.  I have found out, too, that
Chandos is not a general favourite in the school, but he has two or
three friends--chums, like Tom and I used to be--who seem to be fond
of reading, and don't get into so many scrapes as Tom's set.  I
belong to nobody just now.  I join in a game sometimes when I don't
feel too sulky; but I miss Tom too much to feel pleased with anybody
else, though Chandos and I talk a bit sometimes when we go to bed.
Last night we were talking about prayer.  Fancy boys talking about
that; but it seems Chandos believes it is all as real--as real as
writing a letter to his mother, and as sure of having an answer.  I
was as much surprised as when the Doctor talked about us having a
conscience; for it seems Chandos is not going to be a parson after
all, but is to go into his uncle's counting-house, just as mother
wants me to do.  The only difference is that Chandos has made up his
mind to it because it is his duty, he says, though he hates it as
much as I do, and wants to be a doctor awfully.  I begin to think the
world is a dreadful puzzle.  Why can't people do just what they like,
instead of being driven to do what they hate so often?  Chandos is a
first-rate sort of fellow too, I think, in spite of his white face
and curly hair; and yet he's got to do what he don't like, so that
being good don't seem to have much to do with it, though my old nurse
used to say good boys were always happy.  Well, I'm not good, anyhow,
so it's not very wonderful that I'm pretty miserable; only Tom seems
happy enough, and he ought to be miserable too, which is another of
the puzzles, I suppose.

December 10th.--Everybody is essay mad--that is, all the fellows in
our class who have gone in for it.  Chandos and I never talk about it
to each other, but I know he is disappointed, for he was ill the
first part of this half, and so he will have no prizes to take home
at Christmas.  I suppose I should be disappointed too if I was one of
the fellows that grind, but I don't see the use of it, and so prizes
don't come in my way.  Not but what I should like to please mamma,
and she would be pleased, I know, if such a wonder was to happen; but
then I hate books, unless they are about the sea, or something of
that sort.  I shall be glad when the holidays are here now.  I should
not like to confess it even to Tom, but I want to see my mother, and
ask her some of the questions that have puzzled me lately.  Then
there is always lots of fun at Christmas, and there has been so
little here.  Another week and this essay fuss will be over, and then
the fellows will talk about the other prizes and going home, and I
shall try to forget all the bother, and Tom's share in it too, if I
can.  I wonder who will get this essay prize--not Tom, I am certain.

December 18th.--Tom has got the prize.  I cannot understand it one
bit.  I know he has gone in for lots of grind lately, like the other
fellows, but there were two or three that I felt sure would be better
up to that kind of work than he was.  I cannot feel glad that he has
won it, and I have not told him I am; and some of the fellows that
were most urgent for him to go in have scarcely spoken to him since.
I wonder whether they think, as I do, that this watch should of right
belong to Chandos.  Tom and I are going home together.  No one at
home knows anything of what has happened, and I shall not tell them
if I can help it.  Chandos has asked me to go and see him in the
holidays, and I mean to ask mamma to let him come to our house.  I
think I shall like that better than going to his place, for I fancy
his people are dreadfully religious, and we know nothing about that
sort of thing, but I don't like to be thought quite a heathen.

January 20th.--The holidays are over, and we are back at school in
our old places once more.  Tom has taken up the notion that I am
envious of his good luck in getting the watch.  Good luck!  I call it
bad luck, for it was a bad business altogether, and I let out
something about this at home; but mamma only thought it was one of
our ordinary quarrels.

I went to see Chandos in the holidays.  He has several brothers and
sisters; one of them has come back with him to school, and is among
the juniors, although he is only a year or two younger than his
brother; but he has been delicate, and is very backward, and so was
obliged to go into the lower division of the school.  I like Mrs.
Chandos very much.  She is religious after a different pattern from
my Aunt Phoebe, and somehow everything seems so real about her that I
don't wonder Chandos believes everything she says.  But I don't mean
to like Chandos too much.  He is all very well, but he is not Tom,
and can never be my lieutenant.  I had a talk to mamma about going to
sea, but she is as obstinate as ever.  I told Chandos of this when he
came to see me, and he said, "Then I am afraid you will have to give
it up, Stewart."

"Give it up! give up the sea! you don't know what you are talking
about, Chandos!"

"Yes, I do, for I wanted to be a doctor quite as badly as you want to
go to sea; but when my father died, and my mother told me how
impossible it was that my wish could be gratified, I set to work at
once to conquer it."

"Set to work to conquer it!  But how could you do that?" I said.

"I--I began in the only way I could; I asked God to help me for my
mother's sake to overcome the selfish desire, and make me willing to
do all I could to learn what was necessary to be a merchant."

"But you don't hate the idea of being chained to a desk as I do, or
you wouldn't talk so coolly about it."

"Not now.  But I did hate it quite as much as you can, Stewart; but I
remembered that my mother was not rich.  When my father died we were
very much reduced, and if I should offend my uncle by refusing this
offer he might refuse to help the younger ones by-and-by; and so you
see it was my duty to forget myself and my own wishes, and do what I
could to help my mother."

"But my mother does not need my help, and so I don't see why I should
give up everything I want, if you do."

"Your mother may not want your help, but she wants you.  You are her
only son, and--and shall I tell you?--I have heard of such things
happening, you know--she may break her heart if you run away to sea.
You would not do that, Stewart."

"Break her heart!  Kill my mother!  Chandos, you know me better than
that!"

"Yes, I do, Stewart, and that is why I have spoken in time; but I
have heard of boys going to sea and coming home expecting to find
everything as they left it, and finding mother and father both
dead--killed by grief for the runaway."

"Oh, that's all twaddle, you know, Chandos; nobody ever really died
of a broken heart," I said.

"Then you mean to try the experiment on your mother?  Very well,
Stewart; if you will, you will, I know; only beware of the
consequences, for if the twaddle should prove truth it would cause
you lifelong unhappiness afterwards."

This ended his lecture, and I made up my mind to forget it as soon as
I could; but somehow it mixes itself up with everything, and try as I
will I cannot forget it.  Of course, I don't want to run away, if I
can persuade mamma to let me go to sea properly; but if she won't,
what am I to do?  I can't and won't go to be perched up at an office
desk all day, and so there will be nothing else I can do but cut and
run some fine morning.  Of course, I shall write to mamma just before
I sail, and tell her I'm all right and jolly, and when she knows that
she'll soon be all right.  Tom and I have talked over the plan dozens
of times, for he was to come with me, only somehow I don't want him
so much now, though his watch might be handy to sell if we were short
of money on the road, for I suppose we should have to go to
Liverpool, or Plymouth, or Southampton, or some of those places.
Bother Chandos, making me feel uncomfortable about it.  But there,
I'm not going to run away to-day, and so I'll forget the whole bother.

January 26th.--At last we are going to have some fun.  It has been
freezing splendidly these two days, and if the governor hadn't been a
duffer he would have let us go out on the ice to-day, for there is a
first-rate pond--two or three, in fact--close by, and I know the ice
will bear; but he has promised we shall go to-morrow, and everybody
has been looking up skates in readiness.  I hope it will not thaw
to-night, for we are all looking forward to the fun we shall have
to-morrow--all but Chandos, and he has taken it into his head that
his brother ought to stay at home, as he has a cold.  But Chandos
junior has a will of his own, I can see, and I mean to help him to
stand out against his brother's coddling, and give Miss Chandos a
fright into the bargain, if I can.  It will be good fun to coax the
youngster to go to another pond, especially if one happens to be
labelled "Dangerous."  I fancy I can see his brother now running
about like a hen after her brood of ducklings, for he does fuss after
this youngster, as though he was different from other boys, and I'll
stop it if I can.

February 4th.--I wonder whether I can put down in my log all that has
happened.  I shall try, for I am very dull to-day sitting up here
alone while the others are in school.

It did not thaw, as everybody feared it would, and we started for the
ponds in good time, Swain and the other master with us, for the
governor would not trust us alone, which made some of the fellows
pretty wild, and they vowed Swain should not come for nothing.  Just
before we started Tom came tearing across the playground to me and
said, "You've split on Chandos junior!"

"Split on him!  What do you mean?  I don't often speak to the
youngster; you and your set know more about him than I do," I said.

"Yes, but you and Miss Chandos are as thick as thieves, and you know
he did not want young Frank to go to-day."

"Yes, I do know that, and I said if I was Frank I wouldn't be coddled
to that tune.  What of that?"

"Why, Chandos has locked him up or something, for he isn't here."

"Locked up your grandmother!  How could he do that without appealing
to the governor?  and you know Chandos is not likely to do that now.
The youngster will turn up presently, unless he has made up his mind
to do as his brother wishes, and declares himself on the sick-list.
There are three to stay indoors, you know."

"Yes, but young Chandos won't stay if he can help it.  We've laughed
him out of that--told him the school calls his brother a young lady
for his meek ways, and the sooner he breaks away from her
apron-string the better."

"Well, Chandos is too fussy," I said; "but don't lead the youngster
into any harm, Tom.  I'll help with some fun, just to give Chandos a
fright, you know."

"Bravo, Charley!  Jackson was just talking about the same thing, and
we'll do it now."  And we both rushed off to Jackson and the rest, to
inquire if they had seen anything of the youngster.

"It's what I call confoundedly selfish, if Chandos has stopped the
young prig from coming out," said one of the fellows.

"Chandos ain't selfish," I said; for, though I felt cross with
Chandos myself, I did not care to hear him run down by Tom's set.

"Well, I don't know what you would call it, but if somebody tried to
make me stay at home the only day we are likely to have any fun on
the ice, I should feel ready to punch him."

"I don't believe Chandos junior will stay.  But now, what are you
going to do with him when he comes?"

"Do with him!  Do you think we want to eat him, Stewart?"

"No, I don't suppose you do; but mind, there's to be no harm done--no
sousing him, or anything of that sort.  If it's just a bit of fun, to
give Chandos senior a fright, I'll be in it."

"I should think you would, for things are awfully slow here now.  Tom
says you used to be up to anything, but since Miss Chandos--"

"There, we won't talk about that; Tom knows all about it, if you
don't."  And I was just turning away when Frank Chandos ran towards
us with his skates in his hand, looking angry and defiant at his
brother, who had followed him half across the playground.

A few minutes afterwards we started for the ponds in groups and knots
of twos and threes, all laughing and chattering together, the masters
at the head, and leading the way to the broadest and shallowest.

"Now, boys, I think you can skate and slide to your hearts' delight
here; but mind, Dr. Mellor has given orders that no one is to go to
the pond round by the alder bushes, for there are dangerous holes in
it, as you all know, and if the ice should break--well, you know what
the consequences are likely to be."

"All right, sir, we'll keep clear of that," said two or three, as
they were fastening the straps of their skates, while some, who had
already begun sliding, laughed at the notion of the ice breaking.

"It is as firm as the schoolroom floor, and one is as likely to give
way as the other."

"I don't believe the governor would have let us come here at all if
all the ponds hadn't been safe," I said.

"Safe! of course they're safe.  The governor knows that; only he must
tell us something by way of a scare.  He's as bad as Miss Chandos,"
said Tom.

"Where is the young lady," I said, "and the youngster?  We must look
after them."

We were off now spinning across the pond, Tom and I, with Jackson
close behind, and the three of us managed to keep together.

"What a lark it would be to take Chandos junior to the alder pond,"
said Jackson, looking at me as he wheeled round on his skates.

"We'll do it," I said; "but not just now.  Wait a bit, till the
fellows get warm to the work, and they won't miss us.  We must keep
our eye on the youngster.  Is he skating or sliding?"

"Skating; but that don't matter," said Tom.

"No, but if Chandos senior had the skates on it would be all the
better.  They are his skates too; I happen to know that, and so I
shall tell Master Frank presently that he ought not to stick to them
for the whole afternoon."

"I see; if Chandos senior should happen to see us he will not be able
to fly to the rescue of his duckling at once.  But look here,
Stewart, we'll manage so that he don't know anything about it."

"Oh, no, we won't!  I want him to see us, to tease him a bit.  I say,
Jackson, are you a judge of ice?  Don't you think this seems to be
giving a bit?" I said.

"No, it's as firm as a rock.  What ice would give in such a cutting
wind as this?"  And Jackson pulled his comforter closer round his
throat as he spoke.

We were all pretty well wrapped up in great-coats and mufflers and
worsted gloves, so that when we had a fall, as most of us did every
few minutes, we had something to break the concussion a little; but
these heavy things would prove rather awkward if the ice should break
and let us through.

I said something about this to Jackson, but he laughed at the notion,
and Tom said, "Why, what has come to you lately, Charley?  You have
been tied to Miss Chandos's apron-string until you have got to be a
coward.  I believe now you are afraid to go to the alder pond."

"Am I? you shall see about that.  Where's Chandos junior?"  And I
wheeled off at once to look for the youngster and see what Miss
Chandos was about, and whether Swain was likely to have his eye upon
our movements.

I cannot write any more to-day.  To-morrow I shall be stronger, I
hope, and then I may finish this story about our skating.



CHAPTER IV.

THE ACCIDENT.

February 5th.--It helps to pass some of the time I am obliged to
spend alone to write in my log, and so I will go on from where I left
off yesterday.

I found everybody was on the ice, the masters enjoying the fun as
much as the boys, and Chandos the merriest of the lot.  He and two or
three of his friends were racing, curveting, cutting figures in the
ice, for I found that Frank had been glad to give up the skates and
take to sliding.

"It's rather crowded here," I said, as I ran the youngster down, and
then stopped and wheeled round to help him up.

"It's crowded everywhere, and the fellows with skates seem to think
they ought to have it all their own way," he grumbled.

"Come over here; there are some good slides at the farther end of the
pond;" and I helped the youngster over, purposely going close to Miss
Chandos.

But she didn't smell mischief, or was too much occupied with her own
fun to notice us, and we soon came up with Jackson and the rest.

"It's dreadfully cold here," said young Chandos, shivering.

"Yes, it is cold," said Tom; "the wind sweeps down upon us, freezing
our very marrow if we don't keep moving."

"The best place for sliding would be the alder pond.  That is
sheltered a good deal from this cutting wind," said Jackson.

"But it isn't safe," said Frank Chandos.

"Safe!  As if they'd let us come near this place at all if all the
ponds were not safe!  I tell you it will bear as well as this," said
Jackson.

"Shall we go there?" proposed Tom.

"Mr. Swain said we were not to go near it," feebly ventured Frank.

"Oh, well, if you're afraid, stay where you are, but I'm going," said
Jackson.  "Stewart, will you come?  Tom will, I know."

"Yes, I'm off," said Tom, nodding to me; but I wanted Miss Chandos to
see where we were taking her duckling, to give her a fright.

The youngster saw me looking towards his brother, and said, in a
whisper, "If we mean to go, Eustace had better not see us.  You're
sure it's safe?" he added.

"Safe as the schoolroom floor," I said; and then we went after the
others; but I kept looking back towards Miss Chandos as we went
towards the alder pond.

We got out of sight as soon as we could, and, screened by the
close-growing trees, the bitter east wind did not sting us quite so
much.  Jackson and Tom were soon skimming across the pond.

"I wonder where the holes are they make such a fuss about?" said Tom.

"I don't believe there are any," said Jackson.

"Well, holes or no holes, I think we had better keep near the edge,"
I said; but young Chandos did not hear me, he says, and went at once
towards the trees for shelter from the wind.  The ice was very thin
there, and the next minute there was a crack, a splash, and a scream,
and young Chandos had gone down.

"Run for help!" I called to Tom, and then I skimmed across what I
thought was the strongest part of the ice to help Frank.  But before
I could reach him the ice gave way, and we were both struggling for
life.

I don't remember much of what happened beyond telling Frank to catch
hold of some of the branches of the trees that were close to the
water, and hearing the shouts of the boys when Tom gave the alarm.  I
could hear them coming, but it would be too late to save me, for my
heavy clothes kept me down in the water, and I sank, never to rise
again, I thought.  I seemed to see my mother at that moment more
plainly than I had ever seen her before, and to understand her grief
for my death in a way that I could not have thought possible.  But
still, although I longed to escape for her sake, I seemed bound by
invisible fetters that were, in reality, my heavy wet clothes.  They
have told me since that this probably saved me, although they thought
I was dead when they got me out of the water.

Once out, however, I soon began to revive, for I am strong and
healthy; but poor Frank Chandos lay hovering between life and death
for nearly a week afterwards.  I shall never forget that terrible
time.  I felt if he died I should be a murderer, for he would never
have gone to the alder pond if I had not taken him there.  Poor Miss
Chandos, too, who had promised his mother to take good care of the
lad, he was almost stunned with grief; and it was not until after his
mother had come that he could be persuaded to leave his brother even
for five minutes.  Tom and the other fellows who came to see me told
me all about it, for I was ill too, from cold and fright, but nothing
to cause any alarm, and little notice was taken of me or my ailments,
and I did not let any one know how miserably unhappy I was.  I tried
to talk to Tom about it once, but he only laughed, and said, "Oh,
it's no good crying over spilt milk; let's forget all that miserable
affair now.  Of course we were all in the wrong box, I suppose; but
then it was only done for a lark, and we've all been punished for it
pretty stiffly.  Jackson and I had a hundred lines of Milton to learn
in after hours that took no end of time to get perfect, for the
governor was so crabby he wouldn't let us off a single word, and
actually heard us himself, so if you don't think that has squared
accounts for us, then I don't know what will."

"If learning two hundred lines would square things, I'd do it; but
think of poor Frank Chandos lying there dying, and all our fault."

"How can it be our fault?  We didn't carry him to the pond.  He came
to please himself, and if he wasn't ill he'd have an imposition as
well as us.  I wonder whether the Doctor will give you one when you
get well, Charley?"

"I wish he would," I said, bitterly.  "Oh, I dare say it's all very
well for you to talk when it isn't likely to happen, for I expect the
governor will think it punishment enough for you to be kept up here
and fed on slops for ever so long.  I don't know myself that I would
not rather have the imposition."

How glad I was when poor Chandos came to see me at last.  I almost
wished we really had been girls then, that I might have thrown my
arms round his neck and kissed him and asked him to forgive me, for I
could see he felt sorry for me, and the first words he spoke were
meant to comfort me, only somehow they seemed to make me miserable.

"You did not mean to do any harm, Stewart, I know," he said, his
voice shaking as he spoke.

"Will he die?" I asked.  "It don't matter about me and what I meant
about it, but tell me about him; is there any hope, Chandos?"

"Not much, I am afraid.  Only God can save him; the doctor can do no
more, he says.  Stewart, you'll pray for him, won't you--pray that
God will give him back to my mother, for she is almost heartbroken
over it?"

"Me pray!  What is the good?  I don't know how; I never prayed in my
life.  I've said my prayers; but it's different, that is, from what
you mean, and I haven't done that since I was a little chap."

"Then begin again now, Stewart.  Pray for poor Frank.  I know you
feel unhappy about him."

"Yes, I do.  I'd do anything I could; but that's just it; I can't do
anything, and it seems mean to go sneaking to God now, when I didn't
care a pin about the whole business until I got into this trouble;
and I can't do it."

"Oh, but you mustn't think of it--think of God in that way.  If you
had been very ill you would have liked your mother sent for, wouldn't
you? and she would have liked to come, I am sure."

"Yes, I expect there will be a row that she was not sent for as it
is.  But what has that to do with it?"

"Everything.  God feels as kindly towards us as our mother and
father, and He wants us to go to Him when we are in trouble, although
we may have kept away before.  My mother says He often sends trouble
to be His messenger and make us come, so that He will not be offended
if you should begin to pray now."

"I can't, Chandos.  It's just the meanest business I ever heard of to
go sneaking to God whenever I'm in trouble and can't help myself, and
forget Him directly afterwards."

"But why should you forget Him afterwards?  Why not make Him your
Friend, as He desires to be?"

"What, be religious and grumpy, and lose all the fun of life?" I
said, staring at Chandos in amazement.

"You need not be grumpy, Stewart, and you can have just as much fun,
only I think you will be more careful not to let the fun do harm to
other people."

"Well, I will be more careful in future, I promise you that, Chandos;
but about being religious, why, I never heard of a schoolboy being
religious unless he was a dreadful muff and a sneaking prig, and I
hate sneaks of all sorts."

"So do I," said Chandos; "and if I thought praying to God and trying
to live in fear and love of Him would make you one, I wouldn't ask
you to do it.  But it won't.  Look here, you've heard of General
Havelock, haven't you? and Hedley Vicars, that fought in the Crimean
war?  Did you ever hear that they were sneaks, or anything but brave,
noble men--brave enough to serve God openly and fearlessly?  I tell
you, Stewart, it takes a brave man, not a coward, to declare himself
determined to serve God.  But I have said enough about this, perhaps,
and you look tired."

"My head aches," I said; "but I should soon be all right if I could
only know there was a chance for poor Frank to get better too."

"I wish I had better news for you, Stewart.  My mother and I can only
pray for him."

Chandos was going away as he said this, but I caught his hand and
held him back.  "I will pray too," I whispered; "but if God hears me
now, how shall I ever keep square afterwards? and I must, you know,
to keep from being a sneak."

"Look here, Stewart; you are mistaken altogether in thinking God's
service such a dreadful bondage.  He knows you are a boy, and does
not expect you to be prim and precise and always praying and singing
psalms.  I am not sure that it would not displease Him if you tried
to do that, for He knows it would be a poor preparation for our work
in the world by-and-by."

"But what would He want me to do, then?" I said.

"First of all to think of Him as your friend.  The Lord Jesus was a
boy Himself once, you know, and so He knows all about a boy's
feelings and temptations.  Almost my father's last words to me were,
'Be honest and upright and pure;' and I know God will help me to keep
my father's command if I seek His help, as He will you if you will
take Him to be your Friend."

"And isn't that what I want?" I said; "to be honest and upright and
pure?"

"I believe you do, Stewart, and it's what God wants you to be, and
what He will help you to be if you will let Him."

"But what else must I do?  Religious folks always are different from
others, you know."

"Well, they ought to be.  A religious sailor ought to be the bravest
and most fearless man on board the ship, and do his work better and
more cheerfully than anybody else."

"Well, my uncle did tell me of a fellow like that once, and I thought
I should like all my sailors to be like him.  He was a jolly,
good-natured chap, ready to spin a yarn to his mates, and they were
willing to listen to the moral he always contrived to bring in.  He
was as brave as a lion, too, and yet as kind as a woman if any of the
others were sick.  But there ain't many like him, you know, Chandos."

"You might make another, Stewart; and a captain--you mean to be a
captain, you know--and a captain of that pattern might do as much, or
even more, good than a common sailor."

"Yes, but it's the beginning.  I don't see that boys have anything to
do with religion.  What can they do?"

"Learn better--learn their lessons more thoroughly, so as to be
better fitted to do their work in the world by-and-by.  I suppose
you'll admit that we shall be men by-and-by if we are spared?"

"Well, yes, of course; but then it's just that.  Religion seems to be
for those who don't live, to prepare them for death and all that, you
know.  If I was very ill and dying I should want to be religious, of
course, but now--"

"That's quite a mistake, Stewart, to suppose that because you are
likely to live many years this matter of serving God ought to be put
off.  I might ask you how you can be sure that you will live even six
months longer, or that you may not be carried off by some sudden
accident.  But I don't like to think of religion as just something to
sneak out of the world comfortably with.  Religion is to fit us to
live--to live well, to fill life full of joy and happiness.  You
stare, Stewart, but I can tell you the happiest people in the world
to-day are those who serve God best."

"Then what makes them pull such long faces, and look so wretched, and
talk about being miserable sinners?" I asked.

"Well, we are sinners, you know, Stewart, and one of the first things
we have to learn in coming to God is just this very thing.  It is
because we have sinned that Christ died to put away our sins; but
some people don't seem to believe in this thoroughly.  They know they
are sinners, and it makes them unhappy and they fancy they ought to
go mourning over them all the days of their life."

"That's just my Aunt Phoebe, and mamma says she is very religious,
and one of the best women that ever lived, which makes me say I hate
good women, and all religious people into the bargain.  But, Chandos,
there are not many of your sort of religious people in the world."

"More than you think for.  There are some of the fellows here in this
school; I won't mention any names, but two of the best and jolliest
in the cricket-field will be just such men, I believe."

"Boys here in this school are religious!" I said.  "Of course, I know
you are, but--"

"You thought I was the only one, Stewart?  Well, now, I'm glad to say
when I came here I found one or two trying to solve the problem you
think so improbable--how a schoolboy can serve God; and though it may
be difficult sometimes--I grant you that, for temptation to do wrong
even in fun must be resisted; and then lessons must be learned
fairly, not shirked, and no cribs must be used, or else where is our
honesty?  But still, if a boy once starts to keep on the square all
round, things are not so hard as you might think.  But I must not
stop any longer now, Stewart; I will come in and have another chat
by-and-by.  But--but you will not forget to pray for poor Frank?"

Forget!  Sometimes I wish I could forget that dreadful day and
everything that happened then.  It isn't often, I suppose, that such
dreadful things happen through a little fun, or else it would help
Chandos's argument about the happiness of not doing wrong even in
fun, for this has made me miserable enough.  I wish I could be the
sort of fellow Chandos talked about.  It's different altogether from
what I thought, and to be fair and square and honest right through in
lessons and everything else has nothing of the sneak about it.  But I
have promised I'd pray for Frank, and I mean to do it.  How am I to
begin?  Will God hear me?  I'm not good like Chandos.  He saw me
shooting the pellets at him from under the bedclothes only a little
while ago, I suppose, and won't He think I'm mocking Chandos now if I
kneel down as he did?  What was it that he said, though, about the
Lord Jesus being a boy once?  Well, if He was He'll know all about
me, and after all it's poor Frank I want Him to help.  I wouldn't
venture to ask Him to help me yet; I want nothing now so much as for
Frank to get well.

After thinking like this for some time I locked the door, for fear
anybody should come in and see me, and then I kneeled down; but I
don't know what I said, only that it was about Frank and his getting
well, and that I'd try and do the square thing, and be honest and
upright and pure right through, if God would only make him well again.



CHAPTER V.

CRIBS.

February 10th.--I am in the schoolroom again, and poor Frank Chandos
is getting better.  He is to go away as soon as he can be moved, but
he is too weak even to sit up in bed yet.  I went to see him
yesterday, and Chandos told him I had prayed that God would make him
well again.  He turned his white face round, and looked at me with
his big, dark eyes, and said, "Thank you, Stewart."

"Oh, don't do that!  I didn't mean to do any harm, you know, but I
led you into the mischief, and I've been sorry enough ever since; and
I hope you'll forgive me, Chandos," I said.

But I felt almost frightened when he put out his hand and slipped it
into mine--such a thin, white hand it was, with fingers for all the
world like claws.  I suppose the doctors know best, but I should have
thought he was dying if Mrs. Chandos had not told me he was looking
better.

Chandos seems to expect that I'm going in for plenty of grind, and
all that sort of thing.  Well, it's only fair, for I couldn't think
of asking God to help me out of a scrape, and then forgetting all
about it as soon as it's over; though what a schoolboy can pray about
when things are all right I don't know.  Of course, I haven't done
with Frank yet, for I don't feel so sure about his getting well as
the others do.  He looks awfully thin and white, and if God was just
to leave off making him well for a day or two he'd be as bad as ever,
I expect.

February 12th.--It's awful hard work to grind away like this--as I
have the last two days.  It ain't so easy to do lessons on the
square, when one has been using cribs for ever so long; and then,
grind as much as you may, the lessons don't look so well after all
when one is a duffer at them, as I am.  Yesterday I sat poring over
one book for hours and hours, trying to make out what it meant.  I
suppose I ought to know well enough by this time, for I've learned it
all up to there; but then I've used cribs, and Swain don't know that,
and so he pitched into me, and threatened a heavy imposition if ever
I took up such another piece of construing.  It's easy enough talking
about always doing the square thing, and it mightn't be so hard if
I'd always done it; but I haven't, and there's the rub.

February 16th.--There's no end of a row with the fellows over these
cribs.  I've always used them, and I always shall, they say; and Tom
backs them, and tells them I'm tied to Miss Chandos's apron-strings.

It began about another wretched construe I handed in to Swain.

"Is this your own work, Stewart?" asked Swain; and I thought it was
so good he could hardly believe I had done it, and I said, quite
proudly, "Yes, sir, I've done every word of it."

"Then all I can say is, you have no right to be in this division of
the school; and I shall talk to the Doctor about it."  He was turning
over the leaves of the exercise-book while he was talking; and
presently, turning up one of the cribs, he said, "Look here, Stewart;
who did this?"

"I wrote that a month ago, sir," I said.

"Yes, I know you wrote it, but who did the construing?"

I looked at Swain, and then at the map on the wall, for I didn't know
who had done it.  I always did my lessons with Tom and the rest, and
they managed the cribs somehow, and I just copied them off the slips
of paper Jackson or some of the fellows handed to me.

"You have been using cribs, sir," thundered Swain; and then he looked
round at the other fellows, who were all very busy over their books.

I wished for once that the schoolroom floor was like the ice on the
alder pond, and I could slip through out of sight, for I couldn't
tell a direct lie about it; and Swain had cornered me so that there
was no other way of getting out of it.  So I said nothing, though I
knew I should catch it from Tom and the rest when we got into the
playground, for I could see by Swain's looks that he suspected cribs
had been used by all the lot.

"You may go to your seat now, Stewart, and I will see Dr. Mellor
about this," he said at last.

As soon as ever we got into the playground the row began with the
other fellows.

"Look here, you miserable muff! what right have you to get us all
into this awful scrape?" said Jackson, pulling off his jacket ready
to fight.

"Who says I'm a miserable muff?" I said, looking round at the others
who had gathered near.

"Well, Charley, it was mean of you not to open your mouth when you
might have saved us all by a single word.  Swain would have believed
you if you'd said, 'I haven't been cribbing;' and it wouldn't have
been much of a fib either, for you haven't cribbed for nearly a
month, I know."

"No, because I haven't done many lessons lately.  You may call it a
fib if you like, but I call it a lie, and you know I hate lying, Tom,
as you did a little while ago.  Now, Jackson, do you want to fight it
out?" I asked, beginning to roll up my shirt-sleeves.

"No, no, don't fight; things are bad enough now, and the governor
will be furious if he hears you have been fighting," said Tom; and he
caught hold of Jackson and held him back.

"Try and settle it without fighting," said one of the other fellows.
"I don't suppose Stewart meant to get us into a row."

"No, I didn't," I said.  "I only wanted to go on the square for
myself."

"One of Miss Chandos's tricks for serving us out," I heard Jackson
whisper to Tom,

"Well, that's all very well, you see, Stewart, but you've been using
cribs with us for ever so long, and so you must stick to them now."

"I shan't," I said.  "I mean to act on the square."

"Go on the square for anything else you like, but you mustn't throw
us overboard in this crib business.  We're all in the same boat, you
see, Charley, and it won't do; the other fellows don't like it."

"Then they can lump it," I said; and I was turning away, but Tom ran
after me.

"Now, be reasonable, old fellow; I've stuck up for you," he said,
"for Jackson and the rest wanted to kick up a row as soon as they
found you were doing your lessons on the square; but I said, 'Let him
be a bit, and have his own way; he'll soon be glad of cribs again.'"

"But I don't mean to have anything to do with them again, I tell you,
Tom; it's downright dishonest."

"Hoighty toighty--dishonest!  You'll tell us next we're all thieves!"
said Tom, angrily.

"What's that he says?" asked Collins, who happened to hear the last
words.

"Oh, he's setting up for a Solomon after the Chandos pattern; says we
are all dishonest--little better than thieves, of course."

"What do you mean, Stewart?" said Collins, turning upon me fiercely.

"Just what I say--what I told Tom--it isn't honest to use cribs, and
I've done with them."

"You'll have to ask us about that now, Stewart; we've helped you, and
we'll do it again, though you have served us this shabby trick, for
it won't do, you know, to have another kick-up with Swain about your
wretched construing.  This may blow over, but the next won't, and
then we shall all be in for it."

"Why don't you give the muff a good pommelling?" said Jackson; "he's
done no end of mischief.  It's no better than peaching to serve us
such a shabby trick.  Swain suspects us, I know."

"Look here, Jackson, a fight will just bring the whole thing out, and
we shall all be condemned to no end of grind if it does.  There'll be
no time for the playground or cricket-field or anything else; we
shall just be worked like galley-slaves, for the governor will have
all the old lessons done over again by way of extra impositions.  I
know him better than you; but if you'll just keep cool and take my
advice we may all escape."

"Now then, boys, listen to the words of the sage," said one of the
fellows, elbowing his way to the front.

"Go on, Collins, make us a speech," said another.

"It ain't much of a speech.  You must give up cribs now."

"Oh, that's all cram; we can't do it," said Tom.

"We must."

"We shall all look as interesting as Stewart did to-day when we go
up.  I say, why didn't you put your finger in your mouth, Stewart?"
he asked.

I was too angry to answer, but the rest burst into a loud laugh, and
I punched one fellow's head, but Collins wouldn't let us have a fair
stand-up fight, and so I walked away, leaving them to settle about
the cribs as they liked; but Tom came to me afterwards, and said that
the fellows had agreed to use no more cribs for a fortnight, but
after that I must do as the rest did, or they would send me to
Coventry.

February 20th.--Mrs. Chandos is still here nursing Frank.  I go into
his room to see him every day for a few minutes; but there isn't time
for anything now except on half-holidays, for it is grind, grind,
grind all day long, and the worst of it is we get impositions, and
the masters are cross because all the construing is done so badly.  I
wonder who invented cribs.  It's an easy way of getting over the
lessons at first, but a fellow is nicely floored if he has to do
without them for a bit, as we have just now.  I fancy, too, that
Swain suspects what is going on, and is watching to catch some of us,
for we have heard nothing since the day of the row--not a word more
about my being sent to the governor.

I wish it wasn't so hard to do everything on the square.  Chandos
says I find it hard because I made a bad beginning when I came here,
and the longer I go on without altering this the harder it will be to
alter.  He gave me quite a lecture about this last night--about
everything in my life depending upon the sort of beginning I make
now.  I laughed, and told him he ought to be a parson, and I should
expect to see him preaching at some street corner if they wouldn't
give him a gown and pulpit; but though I laughed I cannot help
thinking he may be right after all.  I suppose these lessons they
give us to learn will be useful in some way, and when I leave school
I shall be supposed to know all about them, as Swain thinks I know
all about the construing in my exercise-book, and it may be more
awkward by-and-by not to know it than it is now.  I'll try to think
of this.  Dear old Chandos, I like to tease him a bit about his
lectures, and yet I like him to talk to me as he does.

I can understand now how it is he is so grave and quiet.  He is the
eldest son, and his mother talks to him as though he was Frank's
father.  What a pity it is he cannot have his wish and be a doctor.
It's cruel, I think, that people can't have their own way about
things like this.  I couldn't give up going to sea, as Chandos has
given up his wish.

March 4th.--The fortnight is up, and cribs are coming in fashion
again, but everybody is very careful, for Swain is still on the
look-out, I can see.  Last night I had a talk with Chandos about it,
and he says if I am firm the boys will not send me to Coventry, as
they threaten.  Jackson and a few others may bully me a bit, but the
school will not be led by them.

To tell the truth, I am not so much afraid of Jackson and that lot as
of the endless grind I shall have to do to keep on the square and do
without cribs.  I wish I'd never begun with them, and it wouldn't be
so hard now, but once begun, it seems almost impossible to leave them
off.

I said something of this to Chandos, and he said if I asked God's
help I should not find things so difficult; but I don't see how
praying can help me with my lessons or make them any easier, but
still I mean to keep on.

March 12th.--The fellows are awfully rusty because I won't use cribs.
Yesterday Tom came to talk to me about it--the first time he has
spoken for a week, for most of the fellows have kept their word, and
sent me to Coventry for it.

"Now look here, Charley, the fellows have sent me to speak to you
once more--mind, it's the last time--and if you ain't reasonable now
you won't have another chance."

"If it is about cribs you can hold your tongue, for I've made up my
mind long ago," I said.

"Oh, that's all cram.  It won't do to come over us with that tale,
you know, Charley; you've used 'em for months and months before you
came here, I know, and you'll be glad enough to use 'em again; but
you'll find then the fellows won't help you, and so I've come to give
you one more chance.  Now then, yes or no?"

"No," I said, firmly.

"Oh, I'm not going to take your answer in such a hurry as all that.
Just think a bit, old fellow, what you'll do when the summer comes,
and you have to sit stewing over your lessons in that musty old
class-room while we are in the cricket-field.  Why, you'll never get
that big ship of yours finished unless you take to cribs again."

"I can't help it," I said, sulkily, and wishing all the time I could
get my lessons done sooner.

"Oh yes, you can, and you needn't think to cram me with the tale that
you are fond of grind, because I know better.  You hate it like
poison, and if you weren't afraid of Miss Chandos and her slow-going
lot you'd take to cribs again like a sensible fellow."

"Who says I'm afraid of Chandos?"

"I do, and so do the other fellows; and she's just taking all the
spirit out of you, and making you as big a coward as she is herself."

"I tell you, Tom, you're mistaken in thinking Chandos is a coward,
and I'll fight any fellow that dares to say so."

"Oh, everybody knows you can fight, but that isn't the thing.  I
haven't come to quarrel with you, Charley, but to talk over this.
Look here now, things are getting awfully dull and slow.  We haven't
had a real good lark this half, for all our time has to be spent in
grind."

"You and Collins and Jackson always get done in good time."

"Yes, and a few others besides, but some of them talk about giving up
cribs through you, and it ain't fair.  Swain will find out about the
cribs if you are so much longer over your lessons than we are.  Mind,
this isn't the only thing, Charley.  We're old chums--"

"We were at one time, Tom, but I can't forget that farm-yard
business," I put in.

"Oh, botheration to the farm-yard!  That was months and months ago,
and everybody has forgotten that, if you haven't."

"I'm not so sure of that, Tom," I said.

Tom put his hands into his pockets and whistled.  After a minute or
two he said, "Well, Charley, you'll never be the sailor I thought you
would."

"Bother being a sailor!  What's that got to do with it?" I said.
"You were talking about our being chums."

"Well, only this--sailors don't bear malice like you."

"I don't bear malice.  It isn't that at all.  You didn't hurt me,
except that I felt I'd lost my old chum, when you did that sneaking
business, and let Chandos take your punishment."

"Oh, bother Chandos!  I'm sick of hearing the young lady's name, and
I didn't come to talk about her, but about these cribs.  I tell you,
Charley, if you don't take them up again there'll be no fun this
half."

"We can live without fun, I suppose," I said, crossly.

"I suppose we can, but you were always up to anything in that line.
But now--well, there's been nothing since the skating but just
maundering about like a parcel of girls."

"Would you like that skating business over again?--because I
shouldn't!  I do like a good lark as well as anybody, but I may as
well tell you straight out, Tom, I mean to go on the square with our
larks as well as with lessons.  I shan't forget how near Frank
Chandos was to dying for one while, and I mean to be careful in that
direction for the future, for I shouldn't like to be a murderer, even
in fun."



CHAPTER VI.

WAS IT ROBBERY?

April 13th.--A month since I wrote up my log.  I have been home for a
few days' holiday, but the rest has been all grind, and not a single
lark.  I'm afraid I shan't be able to hold out much longer; and yet
it seems jolly mean when God has made Frank Chandos almost well, and
saved me from being miserable all my life.

I had a letter from Frank yesterday, and he says he can run
about--clamber over the rocks and build castles in the sand now.  I
wish I was at the seaside, though it would be better to be on the
sea.  I shall run away soon to get away from this grind if something
don't happen, though I'm not sure that it wouldn't be as mean as
cribbing.  The fellows have sent me to Coventry over that, and
everything is as dull as can be.  I wish something would happen; even
a row would be a change.

April 20th.--Something has happened, or is going to happen, at least;
and I've laughed so much already over it that my sides ached.
Yesterday morning I heard a knocking at our bedroom door just before
the dressing-bell rang.

"Who's there?" I called out.

"Hush up and come out here," came a whisper through the keyhole.

I knew it was Tom, and though I felt inclined to give him a turn at
Coventry at first, I got up and opened the door.

"Now then, what's the row?  Have you set all the water-jugs on fire?"
I asked.

"We want you in our room a minute.  Is Miss Chandos asleep?" he added.

"It ain't likely, with all the row you've been making at this door.
What do you want, Tom?  You know I'm in Coventry."

"Well, you won't be much longer.  We'll give up about the cribs,
Charley; you've beat us.  But slip on some of your things and come
into our room.  Collins wants to speak to you.  He's got some news."

"And a hamper too, hasn't he?"

"Yes, but there wasn't much besides clothes, and that's what's put
him out."

"Does he think I'm to blame, then?" I said.

"No, but he thinks you might help him fill it.  But come on, Charley,
now, before Swain comes.  We must think of something at once."

"I shan't be a minute, Chandos," I said, slipping my head inside the
door; and then I followed Tom to his room.  This is a good deal
larger than ours, and has six beds in it, Jackson, Collins, and Tom,
with three others, sleeping here.  They were all perched on Collins's
bed when we went in, talking over the matter upon which Tom had been
dispatched.

"I say, Stewart, you'll promise us, first of all, not to tell what
goes on here, even if you shouldn't join the fun?"

"Did you ever know me to turn sneak, any of you fellows?" I asked,
rather angrily.

"You need not get your back up, Stewart; we only asked you a civil
question, and you might give us a civil answer.  It's all right,
though; I don't believe you'd peach."

"No, I wouldn't."

"Well, I believe you.  Now, look here.  The governor's birthday is on
the twenty-fourth, and we shall have a holiday--a whole holiday, this
year, as I happen to know; for I overheard Swain talking about the
weather being unusually fine, and the boys having worked very
steadily lately; they were to have the whole day to spend at
Dinglewell.  You've never been to Dinglewell, have you, Stewart?"

"No, but I've heard about it."

"Oh, it's the jolliest place! and we can do pretty much as we like in
the woods.  There's only one thing they're mean about, and that's the
grub.  Sandwiches and stale buns I don't relish, especially when I
think of the pantry shelves almost cracking with the good things at
home; for you must know there's always a grand dinner-party in the
evening, and cook begins preparing for it days beforehand.  I tell
you, Stewart, it's enough to make a fellow's mouth water to see the
pies and tarts and custards standing there."

"You're not obliged to look at them, I suppose?"

"Oh, it's not the looking at them I object to, but the not tasting;
and I mean to remedy that this year.  Are you game for a lark?"

"Just try me, that's all!" I said.

"Charley's good for any lark that don't hurt anybody," said Tom.

"Then this will fit him as nicely as possible, for nobody will be
hurt.  Even the governor himself will laugh over it, and we shall
have a jolly feed into the bargain."

"You mean to have some of the pies and tarts out of cook's pantry,
then?"

"Exactly, old fellow.  You'd help us, I know."

"What am I to do?" I asked; "and how are you going to get them
away--put them in your pockets?"

"Pockets be bothered!  No, everybody knows I had a hamper from home
yesterday, and I mean to let the school think it was stuffed full of
good things, and that I mean to save them until we go to Dinglewell."

"Oh, I see," I said, laughing; but there wasn't time to say any more,
for the bell rang, and I was obliged to hurry back to my room, for
there's no telling when or where Swain will turn up in the morning.

Chandos looked at me when I got back, but he would not ask any
questions, and of course I can't split on the other fellows.

Later in the day I had another talk with Collins about clearing the
larder, and we agreed to do it the night before we went to
Dinglewell; and the things were to be packed in his hamper, and Swain
is to be asked beforehand to let it go in the cart with the other
grub and things.  This is the best of the whole fun, to think Swain
should help us clear the governor's larder.  I laughed until Collins
declared I should bring it all out and spoil it.  I wouldn't be out
of this fun for anything.  I only wish I could be at home when cook
finds it out.  I'd give my share of the fun to see the scare.

[Illustration: CLEARING THE LARDER.]

April 23rd.--I've only time for a line before Chandos comes in, and
the other fellows don't want him to know anything of what's going on.
We've done it--cleared the larder of every pie and custard we could
get hold of.  I thought we should be caught once, and my hair almost
stood on end as I heard cook's voice outside the door; but she went
on, and so did we.  I handed the things to Collins through the
window, and each fellow in the secret took something and stole up to
his room with it, and now they are all safely packed in the hamper,
and Swain has promised it shall go in the cart.  Poor old Swain, if
he only knew what he had promised!  But he'll never know that he
helped to clear the governor's pantry, although he'll pull a long
face to-morrow when he comes home and finds there's precious little
to eat.  The best of the fun is, they won't find out that they're
gone until dinner is nearly ready, for the precious things were
packed on the top shelves out of the way, and I nearly broke my neck
once trying to reach them.  I wonder what Chandos will say about this
when he hears of it?  He is looking forward to the fun we shall have
in the woods to-morrow as much as anybody.  I wonder whether he would
think this innocent fun?  I don't think I shall go to the feed,
though I helped to get the things, for Collins won't ask him, which I
think is rather mean of him, considering that Chandos had to stay
here for the Easter holidays, while the rest of us went home for a
fortnight.

I wonder what we shall do with the dishes when we've eaten the pies!
We can't bring 'em home, that's certain, and Swain mustn't see them
either, and he'll expect to be invited, for Collins has pitched him a
fine yarn about the things his mother has sent for this feed.  I must
ask Collins what he means to do about this, for if we don't look out
the crockery will spoil the whole game.  What a pity it is they can't
make pies without dishes!  I almost wish I'd only brought those
little tarts that Collins carried away in his handkerchief.  They got
broken a bit, and some of the jam ran out, but they're just as good
broken as whole, and there's no dishes to worry about.  Bother the
dishes!  I must go and speak to him about them before Chandos comes
up.  I wonder why he is downstairs so long after time.  Surely he
can't have any mischief on hand!

April 25th.--Our holiday is over, and the fun too; but I'm afraid we
haven't heard the last of the governor's pies.  If he only knew what
a bother they were to us after all, and how often we wished them back
in the pantry even before we had eaten them, he would feel more
comfortable about it, I should think, for it's the last time I'll
ever have anything to do with robbing a larder, even for a lark.  It
was all through the dishes.  Nobody knew how we were to get rid of
them, and some of the fellows got so frightened they wanted to pitch
the whole lot away.  But we couldn't do that, even if Collins and
Jackson would have agreed to it, for the hamper had gone in the cart,
and we couldn't get at it until Swain said, soon after we reached
Dinglewell, "Would you like your hamper left with the other things
until dinner-time, Collins?"

"I don't think so, sir, Stewart and Jackson, and a few more of us,
are going to look for ferns, and so we can carry the hamper, and if
we shouldn't get back by dinner-time it won't matter."

"I don't know so much about that," said Swain, turning rather rusty;
"I cannot let you stray miles off.  You may take the hamper, of
course, but you must not go beyond the old tower, and then I shall
know where to find you if you are wanted."

"The contrary old hunks--he's never done that before!" grumbled
Collins, as we turned away, carrying the hamper between us.

We didn't feel very jolly about the thing now, and I wished I could
back out of it and join the football party with Chandos and the rest.
We might have been carrying a coffin with the body of somebody we'd
killed, by the solemn way we marched along.  As soon as we were away
from Swain and the rest I said, "Now let's pitch all the rubbish down
the first hole we can find."

"That's your own throat, I suppose, Stewart," said Jackson.

"No, I don't want a bit; I've had enough thinking of the dishes," I
said.

"Oh, hang the dishes!  I wish you hadn't thought of them at all, or
had left them in the pantry," said Collins.

"Well, I like that--after dragging me into the scrape to grumble at
me for helping!  Now, look here, I've had enough of the fun, and will
give up the feed to you, and go back to the rest, if you like."

"And leave me to take care of the precious dishes!  I knew you were a
coward, Stewart."

"No, I'm not a coward, and I'll stay and see it out, if you like.  We
must smash the dishes up, you know, and throw the bits about.  Swain
will never see anything of them then."

"Bravo, Charley!  What a pity we hadn't thought of that before!  Now,
then, let's find a place where we can be sure to be to ourselves, and
when we've cleared out the good things we'll begin the smashing
business."

It did not take us long to demolish the pies and custards, and each
dish as it was emptied was broken into pieces, and we amused
ourselves by throwing these as far as we could in every direction.

It was quite a relief when the last tart was eaten and the last dish
scattered, and I then proposed returning to the others, for, our
penance over, surely we might have some play now.

"You forget we've come fern-grubbing," said Collins.  "I propose
that, as we have robbed the governor of his dinner, we should take
him something for his fernery.  It will help to ward off suspicion,
too, I should think; it ought, I am sure."

"I am not at all sure," I said, "and I know nothing about ferns
either."

"He wants to get back to his nurse," laughed Jackson.

"Miss Chandos said he mustn't be long," put in Tom, provokingly; but
the next minute he had measured his length on the ground, for if I
did want to have a game with Chandos I wasn't going to be told of it
by Tom.

Then the fellows all turned rusty, and there was something of a
fight, until about the middle of the afternoon we were so tired of
each other and our fruitless search for ferns that we threw the
hamper away and went back to the rest.

"I knew you wouldn't get any ferns," said Swain, when he heard of the
result of our expedition.  "I suppose you have had your dinner?" he
added, speaking rather stiffly.

"Yes, sir," answered Collins; and we were glad to turn away, for we
fancied he looked at us very suspiciously.

We had certainly missed the fun to-day in our eagerness to grasp it;
for seven more disagreeable, disconsolate boys it would be hard to
find than we, as we sauntered towards the two football parties, who
were running, shouting, laughing, and evidently enjoying the game
wonderfully.

There seemed to be no room for us now, and we stood about watching
the fun as it grew more fast and furious.  Chandos saw me at last,
and ran across to where I was standing.

"Why, Stewart, where have you been all day?  What made you run away
from this football?  It has been such glorious play!"

"I'm glad you've enjoyed it.  I've been with Collins and the rest to
look for some ferns."

"To look for ferns!  Why, Collins must know that ferns don't grow in
Dinglewell Forest; at least, I never saw any," said Chandos.

"I don't think they do, for we couldn't find them either, and so we
came back."

"Well, you'll join the game now, won't you?  Come on, we'll make room
for you."

"No, I don't care about it to-day," I said, for I began to feel a
kind of dizziness in my head.  I had felt sick for the last hour, but
this pain in my head was something quite new, and I began to fear I
should be ill.  Certainly I had no inclination to join in the _mêlée_
over the ball, and only wanted to be left alone.

The miserable day came to an end at last, and I was glad enough to go
home and go to bed, and I fancy Tom and one or two of the others felt
as bad as I did, although nobody complained or even owned to having a
headache, for fear Swain should suspect us when he heard of the
robbery.  Robbery! what an ugly word that is!  But of course it isn't
as though we really stole things; we only took the pies for fun,
which is different from common stealing, only we missed the fun
altogether this time.

We expected to hear all about the affair when we came home--that the
cook had gone into hysterics and the governor fainted, or something
like that; but we did not hear a single word, and of course we
couldn't ask.

Yesterday we did hear a little bit from the housemaid; but she didn't
know who the governor suspected.  She thought it was burglars, and of
course we said it must be, and sent the whisper through the school
that burglars had broken into the pantry.

One of the juniors was so frightened at the word "robbers," that he
went and asked Swain if he thought they would come any more, or
whether he had better write and ask his mamma to send for him.

"Who has been telling you this tale about burglars and robbers?  It
is nothing to be afraid of.  Burglars such as you are thinking of
don't come to steal pies and custards.  We shall find out the thief
or thieves very soon, I have no doubt."

I have been wondering ever since I heard this whether Swain suspects
us after all, or whether he just said it to pacify the youngster.
Not a word has been said about it by the governor, and so I am
inclined to think we shall get off without any further punishment.
It will only be fair after all, for if the governor knew how his
precious pies spoiled all our holiday, and how miserable and sick
they made us feel, he wouldn't want to serve us out any more by way
of making us remember it.  I'm not likely to forget or repeat it
again, for a day like that is worse than the hardest grind at Euclid.



CHAPTER VII.

A SURPRISE.

April 30th.--There's been a most awful row, and the fellows say I
turned rat--at least, Jackson and Collins have sent me to Coventry
over it; but I should do it again if there was the same occasion, for
how could I let a poor servant lose her place and her character
through one of my larks?  The governor must be a drivelling donkey
not to suspect us instead of the servants.

I always fancied that Swain did smell a rat until Young came tearing
up to me with the tale that the police were to be sent for to search
the kitchen-maid's boxes.

"Why, what's the row now?" I asked.

"They can't find out anything clear about those pies; but it's pretty
certain the kitchen-maid has been giving away bread and meat, which,
it seems, is against the rules, and they think she has handed the
pies away too--sold them, perhaps."

"Sold your grandmother!  Young, you're not such a muff as to think
the servants did that, are you?"

"I don't know what to think.  It couldn't be burglars, you know."

"Of course not, it was us.  I did most of the business, and I'm off
to the governor now to tell him all about it;" and, leaving Young
staring with all his eyes, I rushed indoors past Swain, who stood
near the schoolroom door, and bolted on to the master's study.  I
could hardly wait for him to say "Come in;" but when I opened the
door all my courage seemed to have gone, and I felt ready to run away
again.

"Did you wish to speak to me, Stewart?"

"Yes, sir; please, sir, it's about the pies," I said, hardly knowing
how to begin.

"You mean the robbery that has been committed lately?"

"Please, sir, I never thought about it's being a robbery when I took
them."

"You took them!  You robbed my pantry, Stewart?"

"It wasn't a robbery, sir--it was only a lark.  I did not want the
pies to eat; it was just for the fun."

"And what did you do with them?" asked the governor, sternly.

"Well, sir, Mr. Swain helped us get them away, although he didn't
know it;" and then bit by bit it all came out.  I tried to screen
Collins and the rest, but somehow there was no getting over the
governor's close questions, and he sent for them, and gave us all a
lecture and then a long imposition.  I hate impositions and all sorts
of grind, but I didn't mind that so much, for after all the governor
didn't give it us so stiff as he might--as I thought he would; and
that poor girl is not to lose her place after all.

I thought when the impositions were got over there would be an end of
the affair; but it seems I shall for ever be nagged about it--called
a rat, a sneak, a coward.  Tom says I need not have been in such a
hurry to run off to the governor--that if the police had come they
would not have found the empty dishes in her box, and so she would
not have lost her place, and we could still have kept our secret.

Chandos, too, talks something like the governor.  According to them
it was an actual robbery, although I did it in fun.  The result was
the same, they say, and it might have led to disastrous consequences
if I had not told the whole truth about it; and then he went on to
say it was not keeping the promise I had made when Frank was so ill.

"Well, how in the world is a fellow to keep straight for ever?" I
said.

"What pleasure did you get out of this?"

"None at all, as it happened, and it's the last pantry I'll rob; but
still--" and there I stopped.

"I suppose you mean to say you will get into some other mischief at
the first opportunity?"

"Well, how am I to keep out of it?" I asked.

"What pleasure did you ever get by it?  Now, I know you did not enjoy
the holiday at Dinglewell as I did, and yet--"

"No, that I didn't," I said; "it was the most miserable day I ever
spent, and I'll never rob a pantry any more, even for fun.  I tell
you, Chandos, I'd like to keep straight if I could, but how can I?
I've tried, and tried hard, ever since that affair of poor Frank's.
I've never touched a crib since, I give you my word, and you don't
know how hard it is to leave off when once you've begun on that tack."

"I know it must be hard work, and I think you have done very well in
resisting as you have the temptation to use cribs; but you might have
done better, Stewart, if you were not so proud."

"Proud!" I said.  "Nobody ever called me that before.  Sailors are
never proud, you know."

"Well, you are, or you would accept the help a Friend is waiting to
give you if you were not."

"Now, Chandos, that isn't fair," I said.  "I have always been willing
to accept help and take advice from you."

"I wasn't speaking of myself, but of One who cares for you far more
than I do, although I feel sorry enough when you go wrong, and get
into scrapes, and make people miserable, as you often do through your
thoughtlessness."

"I suppose you mean my mother?  But I tell you, Chandos, she expects
it--she knows boys can't keep out of mischief."

"But I know they can; and it wasn't your mother I was thinking of
just now, but God."

"But--but you don't think He cares much about it, do you, Chandos?
He can't, you know."

"You believe that I care, don't you--at least a little?"

"Well, yes, I do, for you have always been my friend, and helped me
out of a scrape, and given me good advice; but--but it's different
about God," I said.

"Why is it different?  He is your Friend, who cares far more for your
welfare than I do, and He is more anxious to see you do well--live a
pure, honest, upright life--than I can be; and yet you will not
accept the help He alone can give, and by which alone you can conquer
this inclination to get into mischief and often do such great wrong."

"God is my Friend?" I repeated.  "Look here, Chandos, if I could
believe that--well, I don't know what I should do, but somehow I
should want to be different.  I almost wish it could be true."

"It is true, Stewart, as true as truth, as true as you and I are
standing here.  I wish you would believe that God feels a personal
interest in you, as much as though you were the only schoolboy in the
world."

"I wish I could.  But somehow, Chandos, it seems so strange--too
wonderful, you know, to be true, that God--the great God who made
heaven and earth--can care for a harum-scarum lot like us."

"Yes, it is wonderful; but you know the Lord Jesus Christ cared so
much for this harum-scarum world and all the people in it that He was
content to die--to lay down His life to bring them to God."

"Yes, I've heard something about it in church; and since I've been
trying to do the square thing and write bits of the sermon, I've
heard about it there too; but then it never seemed to me that it
could be for boys.  God the friend of boys like me?  Why, look here,
Chandos; if the governor was to proclaim himself my friend it would
be an honour, you know; but look at the difference!  I take it that
you mean I could go and tell God about every little scrape and
trouble I got into, and He would help me out of it?"

"Or help you to bear it, as the case might be.  That is exactly what
I do mean, Stewart."

"You do; and you believe it?"

"Believe it; of course I believe it.  I don't know how I should get
on if I did not," said Chandos; and I am sure he spoke truly.

"Well, perhaps I may come to believe it too some day, but I can't
now--not just in the way you do.  Of course I know we ought to pray
and do the square thing; but as long as we do that and go to church
it always seemed to me that God wouldn't trouble Himself about us any
further.  I have been doing the square thing too lately; at least,
I've tried at it, and isn't that enough?"

"But, Stewart, according to your belief, we should all be the slaves
of God--doing just what we were obliged, for fear of punishment, and
no more.  God does not ask, will not accept such service as that.
Don't you remember the text of last Sunday, 'My son, give Me thine
heart,' and what the minister said of God desiring our will, our
affection to be given to Him?  The service would follow then quite
naturally, he said; and when I heard it I was thinking of
you--thinking you had begun at the wrong end, trying to force
yourself into giving God service without any heart or love or
pleasure in it."

"Yes, you're about right, Chandos," I said; "but I don't see how it
could be different.  God made Frank well, and I promised that if He
would do that and save me from being miserable all my life I'd do the
square thing; and I'm not mean enough to back out of the bargain if I
can help it."

"But, Stewart, you do not surely think that God answered our prayers
for Frank just because He wanted to tie you to this miserable
bondage--for it is bondage, slavery--this service which you know
ought to be and is 'perfect freedom' to those who begin at the right
end, and not the wrong--by giving their hearts--their will and love
to God."

"Well, I don't know.  Of course God wants me to be good, I suppose."

"But He would never take such an advantage of us as you
suppose--making a bargain with us, as it were.  No, no, Stewart, you
have made a great mistake about this.  God heard and answered our
prayers because He pitied our distress and loved you too well to let
the miserable consequences of your thoughtless mischief follow you
through all your life; and you ought to return love for love, and not
treat God as though you thought Him a hard taskmaster."

"Well, I don't know; you may be right, Chandos, but I don't see how I
am to begin.  What a pity it is you are not going to be a parson!"

I couldn't help saying that, and I meant it too.

May 5th.--Something has happened that I never thought did happen
anywhere except in books.  Chandos, that so many of the boys have
looked down upon as being poor and beneath them, because he never
seemed to have any pocket money to spend, like the rest of us, has
suddenly become a baronet--Sir Eustace Chandos, of Chandos Court, and
I don't know how many other places besides.  It came upon us like a
thunderbolt, for Chandos never told us his uncle was a baronet, or
that he had any relatives but the merchant uncle.  He did tell me a
few weeks ago that he had just heard of the sudden death of his two
cousins, but he did not say any more, except that he had not seen
them above twice in his life.  I suppose he may have thought it would
make no great difference to him, as his uncle was not a very old man;
but now his uncle has just died too, and our Miss Chandos becomes Sir
Eustace.  Well, I only wish his uncle had put off dying a little bit
longer--just till I felt more settled about things; but now I feel
sure I shall run away to sea if the mother don't come round and give
her consent.

May 12th.--Bravo!  Sir Eustace is not going to leave us just yet.  It
seems his brother Frank is just coming back, and he prefers to stay
another year, and then he will go to college, I suppose.  It don't
seem to have made a bit of difference in him either.  I thought
perhaps he might like to drop our friendship now he was so rich and I
still poor Charley Stewart, but he seemed hurt at the bare
suggestion, and so I am to call him Chandos as usual, and we shall
share the room just the same as though nothing had happened.  I have
thought a good deal about this the last two days.  I know a good many
fellows would have packed up their traps and gone off at once, or
else held their heads so high that a poor chap like me would never be
able to speak to them; and I've been wondering whether it's Chandos
having learned so many things about God that makes him different in
this.  I've thought, too, that perhaps after all, as Chandos is just
as willing to be my friend now he is Sir Eustace, that God may be my
friend, as he said, though I can hardly get used to the thought yet.

May 20th.--There has been a tremendous row over the prize essay by
which Tom won the watch last Christmas.  After all this time, when
everybody thought it was forgotten--though a good many of us did
wonder then how Tom managed it--now it is found out that it was all
made up of cribs, some taken from books, and some from notes that one
of the older fellows lost.  Somebody must have turned rat, Tom says.
He is in an awful rage at having to give up the watch, but the
governor insisted; and now Tom is as dull and looks as miserable as
he can be, for the school has sent him to Coventry over it, which is
very mean, I think, seeing they upheld him last winter, when a good
many at least knew he had no right to try for this prize.  He must
wish he had let Chandos take his chance now, I should think.  I
cannot help pitying him, and Chandos and I have agreed not to join
the school this time, though the other fellows threaten us with
Coventry for speaking to Tom as we do.

The sea fever, as Chandos calls it, has suddenly seized Tom again,
and he is always talking about it, as though we were both sure of
going.  I wish we were; but Tom's father says he has no real liking
for it, and therefore won't let him go, and my mother is afraid.  Oh
dear! if mother would only give her consent! but she never will, I am
afraid, and there will be nothing for it but to run away.  Tom says
we had better make up our minds to go from here before next
Christmas.  If it wasn't for the talks I've had with Chandos I'd do
it; but I think I must give the mother one more chance, and see if I
can't persuade her in the holidays to let me go.  I wish I could
think of something to please her very much; I'd do anything to get
her consent to my going to sea.

June 4th.--I've been talking to Chandos.  He says I have got the sea
fever very bad this time, and he is afraid some of the other boys
will catch the infection.  I know what he means.  He is afraid his
brother may learn to like the sea from hearing so much about it from
Tom, for the two are always together now.  But I don't think he need
to be afraid, Frank would never do for the sea, I am sure.  He has
persuaded me not to tease my mother too much about these plans of
mine these holidays, but to go in for lots of grind next half, and
get a prize at Christmas, and then, perhaps, when she sees I have
really been industrious with my lessons, and yet love the sea as
dearly as ever, she will be more likely to yield.

The plan may be a good one--I think it is, but it's precious hard.
Grind is not quite such a trouble as it was at first, but still it's
bad enough; and what with no cribs, and the extra I shall have to do
if I am to have a chance of taking a prize, it is just enough to turn
my brain.  I scratch my head and pull a long face every time I think
of it, but still I think I will try it, hard as it is.

June 12th.--Mrs. Chandos has sent a very pressing invitation for
mamma and me to pay them a visit at Chandos Court, and of course Sir
Eustace is quite eager that I should accept it.  Not that he wants to
show off his grandeur, I could never believe that of Chandos.



CHAPTER VIII.

RUNNING AWAY TO SEA.

August.--We are back at school once more, and I am going to begin
grinding in real earnest for this prize.  The mater has half
consented, or at least half promised, to give her consent if I get
this prize.  Mrs. Chandos talked her into this, I fancy, while we
were staying at the Court.  What a jolly time we had there, in spite
of its being awfully grand!  Everybody calls Chandos the "young
baronet" about there, and people touch their caps to him as though he
were a great swell, as I suppose he is.  I never thought there was so
much fun in him as I know there is now.  He seems to love fun as much
as any of us, only he is very careful that his pleasure does not give
any one else pain, which makes all the difference in our way of
getting fun; and I fancy his enjoyment of it is deeper after all.

September 1st.--There is to be an extra prize given for Latin this
year, and the examination is to take place early in December.
Chandos wants me to go in for this, but I am half afraid.  It will
want such lots of grind.  He says learning would not be so much
trouble to me if I would only make up my mind to like it; but I don't
think I shall ever do this.  But still I must get one prize at
Christmas somehow; and having done my lessons so long on the square,
without even touching a crib, I think I may manage it without quite
killing myself.

September 14th.--I wish prizes had never been invented--never been
thought of.  I believe it's done just to plague boys.  Here we are
working like galley slaves; and if I don't go on grind, grind,
Chandos whispers, "You forget the prize--you are going to sea."  No,
I don't forget it; I have been thinking of it more than ever lately,
and so has Tom.  He means to run away and get to Liverpool before the
winter sets in, and of course he wants me to go with him, and calls
me "rat" and "coward" because I will not promise.  Of course I don't
mean to split on him, for I can't help wishing I could go too; but
somehow, now that it seems possible I may get my mother's consent to
go in a proper manner--go as a midshipman in the Navy--I would rather
wait, although I do hate the grind.

Chandos says I shall have to grind harder still if I go to the Naval
College at Greenwich; but I won't mind that so much, for the grind
will be about ships and navigation, and not the stupid things we have
to learn here.

October 12th.--Tom means to go.  Everything is so miserable here, he
says.  The fellows have been rather hard upon him, I think,
considering they all backed him up to keep Chandos out of trying for
the watch last year.  Well, he don't want a watch now, but he's going
in for as much grind as though he did, or as though he was still
poor, and going to mount his uncle's office stool, instead of living
in all the glory of Chandos Court.  But I began about Tom.  He means
to be missing some fine morning, and to make his way to Liverpool.
He thinks he shall be sure to get a ship there, and is to write to me
and his father just before he sails.  He don't mean to write to the
governor at all, because he was so mean about the watch.  We always
talked about selling that to pay our expenses on the road, for of
course Tom don't want to beg; and to save him from this I have given
him all the pocket-money I had left, which was only half-a-crown and
twopence, for I never can keep money long, now that old woman with
the bulls'-eyes comes to the playground gate so often.  Poor Tom!  I
wish I had more I could give him, for things have been pretty hard
for him here lately, though I dare say he deserved it for the mean
trick he served Chandos.  What a scare it will be when they first
find out that Tom has gone!  I shall have to keep quiet,
though--hear, see, and say nothing, as they tell the youngsters, for
I cannot pretend to be anxious when I know all about it, and I don't
mean to split on Tom.  Sometimes I fancy that Chandos minor is in the
secret.  Tom is stupid if he lets too many know what he is up to.  I
should have kept my own counsel, and not let Chandos know this.

October 14th.--The house is all in commotion.  Nothing has gone on in
its proper order, and everybody seems to be wondering what will
happen next.  Tom has gone--run away to sea, as the boys are
whispering to each other; but that is not the worst.  I knew he meant
going when he said "Good night" to me last night, and so I risked the
imposition I might get, and stayed in my room this morning until
Chandos came rushing in, looking white and scared.

"Is Frank here, Stewart?" he said.

"Frank?--no, I haven't seen him," I said.

"Then he's gone--gone with Haslitt," he said, dropping into a chair.
"Did you know anything about this, Stewart?" he asked.

"I knew that Tom meant to go some time.  I've told you the same."

"But about Frank--what have you heard about him?  Tell me instantly,
Stewart.  Think of my poor mother."

"I don't believe your brother has gone with Tom.  He isn't such a
muff as to do that."

"You forget the sea fever that we used to tease him about in the
holidays."

"Yes, I know we teased him, but nobody could ever think Frank would
be fit for sea.  Tom didn't, I know."

"But he's taken him--they're gone away together, I'm certain."

"Oh, nonsense, Chandos.  Look here, now, you mustn't split on Tom, or
say a word to the governor that I know anything about it; but I've
talked to Tom lots of times about this, but he never said a word
about anybody else going with him.  He wanted me to go, of course,
but, failing me, he should have to go alone, he said."

"But where can Frank be?  Nobody has seen him this morning, and most
of his clothes and all his money have gone--I have been to look."

"Well, if I thought--" and then I stopped.  "Look here, I can't split
on Tom unless I am quite sure that young muff has really gone.  Don't
tell what I have said, Chandos; but if they are together, Tom is the
greatest stupid I ever heard of, for he might be sure I should tell
all I knew then, and I will too.  Fancy that poor little muff Frank
handling tarred ropes--he'd want to put his gloves on first!" and I
burst out laughing at the thought of Chandos minor going to sea.
Chandos Court would do for him nicely, but on board a ship he would
be in misery.

Chandos left me laughing, but soon came back.

"Stewart, you must go to the governor and tell him all you know about
this affair.  There is no time to be lost, you see, for somebody must
go after them.  A carriage has been ordered, and Swain is to go with
a policeman; but if they find out before starting which road they
have probably taken, perhaps it may save hours, perhaps days, of
delay."

"Well, I know Tom meant to go to Liverpool; he told me so over and
over again."

"Well, come and tell the Doctor before he sends off the telegram to
Haslitt's father."

"Is he going to send to your mother too?" I asked.

"Not just yet.  I want to spare my mother this anxiety if I can.  It
was for this--to look after Frank a little longer, because he is
inclined to get into mischief, that I decided to stay here for the
rest of the year, but it seems I am of little use in preventing the
mischief.  But come now, Stewart, every moment is precious."

So we tore off to the Doctor's study, where he was closeted with a
policeman.

"If you please, sir, Stewart has come to tell you something about
Haslitt," said Chandos, pushing me forward.

"I don't know much, sir, only he said he was going to Liverpool.  I
shouldn't have split about it only for little Chandos, and he--"

"When did he tell you this, Stewart?  You came to school together, I
remember."

"Yes, sir, we are old chums, and he had talked about going to
Liverpool lots of times."

"You meant to go together, then, young gentleman?" said the policeman.

"Yes; I mean to go to sea, but I'll wait till I get my mother's
consent now.  Young Chandos, though, isn't fit for the sea, and he
mustn't go."

"And you think they have taken the road to Liverpool, young
gentleman?"

"I am sure they have."

"And how do you think they meant to travel?" asked the policeman
again.

"Oh, they'd walk, unless Chandos junior had lots of tin, and that
ain't likely; for Mother Brown makes us shell out for her
bulls'-eyes."

"Do you know how much money your brother had, Chandos?" asked the
governor.

"Not much, sir, I should think.  He came to borrow some of me
yesterday, but I only gave him a shilling."

"Then we may conclude they are walking," said the policeman; and a
few minutes afterwards he and Swain drove away, and we have been
wondering ever since whether they would catch the runaways."

October 20th.--Nobody heard anything about Tom and Chandos until
yesterday, for they didn't go to Liverpool after all, and so Swain
and the policeman had their journey for nothing.  Mr. Haslitt got
here a few hours after the telegram was sent, and asked me all about
Tom; but he was too impatient to wait until Swain got back at night,
as everybody expected he would do, but went off to London to set
people to work at once, in case they were not heard of.  It was just
as well he did, too, for Tom must have changed his mind at the last
minute, and started for Plymouth instead of Liverpool, for that was
where he was found--he and Chandos--wandering about the docks asking
everybody if they wanted a boy to go to sea.  Fancy anybody taking
that poor little muff Chandos!  And it seems Tom might have got a
berth for himself, but he wouldn't go without Chandos, so they were
both caught, and I'm glad of it--glad at least that they found
Chandos minor, though I can't help feeling sorry for Tom, for he'll
have a harder time of it than ever now, I fancy.

[Illustration: "DO YOU WANT A BOY TO GO TO SEA?"]

His father is very angry with him, not only for this last scrape, but
about pretty well everything that's happened since he's been here;
for of course it all came out in talking to the governor and the
boys, and that watch affair he is mad about, and thinks it began all
the mischief.  But I think the beginning of it was when he let
Chandos into that scrape about the farm-yard--that was the first mean
thing I ever knew Tom to do; and now if it wasn't actual stealing it
was next to it, for he put Chandos minor up to taking his brother's
studs and a locket that was with them.  The police found that out; I
don't know what those London fellows could not find out if they
tried.  Nobody had missed the things until we heard they had been
found, and then Chandos went to the drawer where he had put them and
found they were gone, and some money too; but he won't say a word
about the money, it seems.  He is dreadfully upset, I know, although
he is very quiet about it; but I have come in rather suddenly once or
twice in the middle of the day, and found him kneeling down, and
though he has tried to hide it, I know he was crying too.  He need
not be afraid of me now, though, for I'd--well I'd rather kick up a
row and laugh in church than tell the other fellows of it.  I'm in
the secret a little.  I know he feels it awfully about Frank, and I
suppose it helps him a bit to go and tell God all about it.  That's
just what it is, I know.  He prays as though God was as much his
friend as I am and just as ready to help him as I should be if I
could; and I know if I'd only got the chance I'd do it.

October 24th.--Frank Chandos is back in his place once more, but Tom
has gone home with his father.  I don't think anybody is likely to
try running away again in a hurry, for to see Tom and Chandos minor
when the policeman brought them in was enough to make anybody think
twice before they tried that game.  That poor little muff Chandos
cried like a girl, but Tom tried to brave it out until he saw his
father.  He gave it up then, and I almost wished for his sake that we
were all on the alder pond again, for a more miserable look I never
saw on any face than that on Tom's.  His head drooped, and he never
raised his eyes from the floor again while we were there.

Poor old Tom! if he could only have been brave enough to speak out
the truth last year about that farm-yard business, all the rest might
not have followed.

But this fuss about him and Chandos minor has put everything else out
of my head, and I have forgotten all about the prize and the grind
too.  What a bother prizes are!  I'm afraid I shall stand a poor
chance of getting this one now, for the other fellows who mean to go
in for it have been working like galley slaves all the time this row
was going on, but I couldn't, and Chandos seemed to forget everything
but that little muff, and so I am all behind, I know.

Chandos says I shall be able to make up for lost time now if I only
work steadily every day, but there's the rub.  How can I be sure that
I can work steadily for more than a month?  Fancy grinding without a
lazy spell for a whole month!  I'm sure I couldn't do it, and so I
may as well give up at once.  I think I will, for what is the use of
trying now?  It will be so much grind thrown away.  And we are having
such splendid weather now, that won't last much longer, that it seems
a pity to be boring over a book a single minute longer than I am
obliged.  I shall tell Chandos to-morrow that I mean to give up the
whole thing, for I can't do it.

November 1st.--I am grinding still, for Chandos won't hear of my
giving up.  He says the things I learn--the grind--will be more
useful than the prize by-and-by; and then he reminded me of my
mother, and how very pleased she would be if I gained this prize.  I
know that, and I should like to please her for once, independent of
the sea scheme.  This is the prize to me, for I don't care much about
the watch for itself; it will remind me too much of poor Tom and his
watch.  As to the grind, what do I care about Julius Cæsar and
Hannibal and Rome and Carthage?  If it was about Nelson and Howe, and
Abercrombie and Cook, and a few more like them, I'd grind away, never
fear.  Why can't they let us know what the questions are going to
be--a few of them at least? and then we might manage; but to be
expected to know all about everything, and the fellows that lived
hundreds of years ago, is rather too stiff, and if it wasn't for
Chandos I should give it up, I know, much as I want to please my
mother.

November 7th.--I've had a letter from Tom.  Fancy Tom writing a
letter!  He says everything is just as miserable at home as it was
here, and he has to do no end of grind shut up in his father's room.
He saw my mother last week, and his father told her she need not be
afraid I should run away to sea now, for I had learned a few things
at school I was not likely to forget in a hurry.  Well, that's true
enough; but I don't think Tom's father knows what it is I have
learned that prevented me going with Tom, and I am not sure myself
that I have learned all the secret that makes such a difference
between Chandos and two or three others and the rest of us at school,
that makes everybody take their word for anything, and be sure they
would not do a mean, sneakish trick.  I feel as though I was stopping
just outside this secret, for God is not my friend--at least I cannot
feel that He is, as Chandos does.  Sometimes I wish I could, for I
know this is more to him a great deal than being Sir Eustace Chandos;
but somehow I don't seem able to get hold of it, although I do
believe it's true--all that Chandos says about God being his friend.



CHAPTER IX.

CONCLUSION.

November 14th.--I'm in for it again.  It isn't much this time--only a
trick we played off on Mother Brown.  The mean old hunks! to say she
never gave credit, when she's cleaned us all out with her nasty
bulls'-eyes.  I'll never eat another, that I won't.  The governor has
heard of this lark, and my share in it, I suppose, for I'm ordered to
go to his study at nine o'clock to-morrow morning.  Well, I don't
care what the punishment is, so long as Mother Brown don't hear of
it; but she would glory in that, I know, for I've led her a nice life
lately.

November 17th.--I wish I could hang Mother Brown, and choke her with
her own precious bulls'-eyes.  A nice imposition I've had through
her!  This fresh hindrance would have taken away my last chance of
the prize; but now--well, I did not go looking for the prize
questions, but when they were there right before my eyes, and nobody
else in the room, how could I help seeing them?  I don't see that
it's much of a cheat either, for of course I shall answer them all by
myself, and if it helps me to know where to read up--well, I've had a
good many hindrances, so that it's about fair after all.

November 20th.--I'm getting along famously with my grind, I think,
although I almost wish I could forget those questions sometimes.  But
I can't, and without meaning it I turn over the leaves of the book
that will answer some of them.  Yesterday Chandos came and looked
over my shoulder, and when he saw where I was reading he said,
"Halloa, Stewart, I thought you said you shouldn't look at that?"

"Did I?" I stammered, and I shut the book.

"Don't shut it up; I don't want to hinder you.  I'm glad you're going
in for it so thoroughly," he said.

"Oh, don't bother!" I said, crossly; for somehow I can't think of
these questions and Chandos at the same time, and I shall tell him
not to interfere if he comes poking round again.

November 21st.--We have just heard that our examination is to take
place the second of next month--about ten days hence.  I wish it was
over, or that I had never made up my mind to go in for it.  I hate
the very name of prizes, and if I get it I'll shy the watch down the
first well I see.  What a fuss Chandos is making too!  He says I am
so cross and touchy he cannot understand me.  I suppose not, for I
cannot understand myself just now.  I know one thing, though; I hate
Mother Brown and her bulls'-eyes, for if it hadn't been for her I
couldn't have seen these questions, but now I have seen them I can't
forget them.  I've tried--I've turned to another part of the book,
and tried to read and learn all about that, but although I began to
feel some interest in that before, I couldn't now, and I was soon
turning the leaves again.  I wish I had given it up when Tom went
away.  I'd do it now if it wasn't for Chandos, but I should not like
him to know anything about this, and so I suppose I must go on.  I
can do one thing, though; I can answer the questions so badly that I
shall lose the prize, and that is how I must manage, though it's
rather hard after doing such lots of grind for it.

November 25th.--I've just had a letter from mamma.  I wish it had not
come yet, for it makes me wish to get this prize more than ever.  I
feel as though I must get it, must have it now, and yet I have not
touched a book the last two days.  Chandos is puzzled and concerned,
I can see, and I hardly know how to avoid him, and yet I try to do so
all I can.  Oh, why did the governor leave those questions about?  It
was dreadfully careless of him.  If he had only locked them up in his
desk when he went to breakfast, as he ought to have done, I couldn't
have seen them, and I shouldn't be in this trouble now.  I wonder
whether Tom's prize essay worried him as much!  If I could only get
out of it without letting anybody know of that sneaking trick of
peeping I'd do it; but how could I tell them I was every bit as mean
as Tom, when I raved so about him last year?  Everybody would
remember that, and throw it up in my teeth, and they would say I had
learned it of Chandos too, and I couldn't bear that.  It's precious
hard, but I shall have to go on.  I must and I will get this prize,
if I can, though I shall hate the sight of it, and hate myself too.

December 3rd.--It's over.  I could answer every question, of course;
but--but, oh! how I wish I had been ill, or something had happened to
prevent my going in for it at the last minute.  I don't want this
prize now, and if I don't get it I shall be almost as thankful as I
was when Frank Chandos began to get well.  I wish I could feel that
God was my friend, and would help me out of this scrape, but I can't
ask Him.  I've felt afraid somehow to kneel down since I turned sneak
yes, I am a sneak, a mean, miserable sneak, and I hate myself more
than I hated Tom, and I said hard things enough about him; but I
never thought then I should ever come to do the same myself.

December 4th.--I had dropped my pen and was actually crying
yesterday, when Chandos came in and caught me.

"What is the matter, Stewart?  Are you ill, old fellow?" he asked,
and he put his arm round me, so that there was no getting away from
him.

"Don't, Chandos," I said, "I can't bear it!  I'm a miserable, mean
sneak, and if you were to kick me out of the room I should feel
better, for that's what I deserve.  Mind, I never meant to be a
sneak, and I didn't think I ever should do such a mean trick, but now
you do know it you'd better turn me up as I did Tom."

"Well, I don't know what you've done yet, we'll talk about that
afterwards; but just tell me this, would you do the same thing again
if you had the chance?"

"Do it again?  I tell you I hate myself for it; but the worst of it
is, it won't undo it now it's done.  I never thought I could be so
mean, Chandos."

"I suppose not; but bad as it is, you need not give up all hope.  God
knew how mean you could be, and yet He will be your friend if you
would let Him.  Is it about the prize, Stewart?"

"Oh yes; I do hope I shan't get it," I groaned.

"Well, you shall tell me all about it by-and-by if you like, but now
just let me say a word.  You never felt before that you were a
sinner--that you could do anything bad?"

"I've been trying to keep straight and do everything on the square,
but I may as well give up now, for I see I can't do it."

"No, no, you won't give up, Charley.  I'm going to call you Charley
now, because I hope we shall be better friends than ever after this.
I was just as miserable once as you are now.  I had told a lie, and I
felt I could never be forgiven; but my mother talked to me, and I'll
tell you as well as I can remember what she said:

"'You've been very proud, my boy, and thought you could get on very
well without any help but your own determination to do right.'"

"Well, what more do we want?" I said.

"Has it been enough, Stewart?  Hasn't this been a miserable failure?
and are you not complaining now that you are more wicked than you
thought possible?"

"Well, yes, that's true enough," I confessed.

"Now let me tell you, Stewart, what mother told me.  God knew you
would fail.  He knew when He put Adam into the garden of Eden that he
wouldn't keep straight long; but He gave him a fair chance, and He
loved him so much that He provided a remedy at once for the sins he
and all men would commit.  The Lord Jesus Christ agreed then to bear
the sins of the whole world--yours and mine among them, Stewart--and
this is what is meant by forgiveness of sins.  You never felt you
needed forgiveness before for you never felt the burden of sin."

"But look here, Chandos, I don't see how God is going to forgive me,
because, you see, I knew better."

"Of course you did.  But have you never read in your Bible, 'The
blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.'  'If we say that we
have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us'? but
God is showing you the truth now--that you need pardon and
forgiveness, and He is willing to give you these; pardon for the sins
already committed, to wash them all away in the blood of His dear
Son, who gave His life for you; and not only pardon, but grace and
strength for the future to enable you to resist the temptation to do
wrong at any future time."

"Look here, if God would help me like that, I shall feel so glad," I
said; "it's no good for me to say I'll always keep on the square any
more after this mean trick, for I may do another, as Tom did.  He
didn't stop at the first, and I'm afraid I shan't if God don't help
me.  Oh, Chandos, I do want Him to help me out of this scrape, and
keep me from doing anything like this again."

"Well, Charley, suppose we kneel down now and ask God for this, and
then you shall tell me all about it if you like."

"I think I had better tell you first," I said, "and then you can tell
God for me.  I'll try and do it myself by-and-by, but I can't just at
once.  I'm not good enough to kneel down at all."

Then I told Chandos about the questions, and we kneeled down
together, and he asked God to forgive me and help me to do what was
right.

"If God will only let me lose this prize now I shan't care," I said,
when we got up.

"But--but I don't think we ought to wait for that," said Chandos.

"What can I do?" I said.

"Suppose you get it--and you may, you know," said Chandos; "you would
be obliged to do something then."

"Oh, I can't bear to think of that.  Won't God help me by giving it
to another fellow?

"God will never help us to be cowards; He will help you to do the
brave and right thing, which is to go to Dr. Mellor at once, tell him
all about it, and ask him to destroy your papers."

"Tell the governor I'm a mean sneak!  I couldn't do it, Chandos."

"Then God cannot help you in any other way, nor I either.  I tell you
He helps people to be brave and do the right; but don't expect He is
going to screen you from the consequences of sin, because He cannot
and will not; and to expect it would be like sawing your finger with
a sharp knife and not expecting to cut it.  I will not attempt to
persuade you, Charley; but if you are sincere in asking God's pardon
now, and His help for the future, you will not hesitate about this
long."

"But it is so hard to do this, Chandos."

"Yes, and God knows exactly how hard it is better than I do; but as
soon as He sees you are willing to bear this, and do the right, He
will give you the strength and courage necessary."

When I lifted my head from my arms I found that Chandos was gone.  I
sat for nearly an hour thinking over what he had been saying--dear
old Chandos! who is so good himself, and yet not half so proud as I
was about poor Tom.  I wonder whether God will help me as he says.  I
don't deserve it one bit, any more than I deserve that the Lord Jesus
should forgive me.

December 5th.--I am sure God has begun to help me.  I went and made a
clean breast of it to the governor this morning, and he has promised
to burn my papers, and keep the whole thing a secret from the rest.
It was pretty hard to begin telling him, but when once I had begun I
did not feel a bit afraid, and I must say he behaved splendidly.  He
didn't blow me up or order me an imposition for prying round his
table, but he said, quite kindly,

"I am very sorry for you, Stewart.  I wish you had come to me before,
or told me you had seen these questions, and I might have saved you a
great deal of unhappiness--for I am sure you have been unhappy--and
not deprived you of all chance of getting the prize.  Try and
remember this for the future--I am your friend as well as your
schoolmaster, and if there is any difficulty in which I can help you
I hope you will trust me as a friend.  I am glad to see you and
Chandos get on so well together;" and then he actually shook hands
with me as I was going out of the door.

I told Chandos all about it afterwards and he said, "You know now how
God helps those who trust in Him; I hope you will never forget it
again."

I don't think I ever shall.  I don't feel afraid to kneel down and
ask His help now, and I know I need it, for who can tell what I might
do next after this mean trick?

December 7th.--I have written and told mamma how I have lost the
prize.  I thought I had better do this, for she had made so sure I
should get it if I really tried that I did not like to go home
without telling her first.  Poor mamma!  I am sorry, for she is
dreadfully disappointed, I know, and I am afraid she will not let me
go to sea either.  I wonder whether I shall be able to give up this
wish entirely, as Chandos did his?  I am afraid not, for often in my
dreams I seem to be on the sea, and how can I ever forget it?  But I
must try to settle down, I suppose.  God will help me in this, I
know, as He did to go to the governor, only it makes me feel
dreadfully old to think of it.

December 9th.--Everybody is busy packing and getting ready to go
home, but my packing must wait until I write up my log once more.  I
mean to tie it up and put it away until I go to sea, for I am really
going after all.  The news came yesterday; my mother wrote to say
that, as I had had the moral courage to confess having done wrong,
half her fear about my going to sea was taken away, for she felt sure
I was less likely to do wrong now I had felt so much unhappiness
about it than I was before.  Dear mamma! she is mistaken here, but I
wonder whether I shall ever be able to tell her that God alone can
keep me from the evil she fears?

I could not think much about this yesterday.  It was enough for me
that I was going to sea, and when I had read that much of the letter,
so as to understand it, I tore round the playground, holding up the
letter and shouting, "Hurrah!  I'm going to sea--I'm going to sea!"
Some of the fellows pretended to think I was mad when I rushed at
Chandos and hugged him, and shouted, "It's all your doing, old
fellow.  I'm going to sea!  I'm going to sea!"

"Let him alone; let him blow off steam," laughed Chandos when some of
the fellows tried to stop me, and I went round the playground again
like a steam-engine.  Everybody in the house knew it five minutes
after the letter came.  Luckily lessons were over for the day, or
there would have been an imposition for me, but as it was nobody
interfered.

To-day I can think more about it, and finish my log, for I shan't
come here after Christmas, and if I write another I shall get a new
book.  But I mean to keep this, for I shall like to read it
by-and-by; and if ever I am likely to forget how God has been my
friend, and how I learned to know it, or if ever I get into a scrape
and am unhappy again, I shall read what Chandos said to me a day or
two ago, that I may never forget: "The blood of Jesus Christ
cleanseth us from all sin."  We only meant to laugh over it, Tom and
I, but now I think I shall remember some wise and good words when I
read up "Charley's Log."


[Illustration: Sailing ship]


LONDON: R. K. BURT AND CO., WINE OFFICE COURT.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Charley's Log - A Story of Schoolboy Life" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home