Part 7 out of 10
told him I'd knock him down if he said another word. He did; I gave the
first blow; we fought; I came to the ground; the servants pulled me up
again. They found out, I don't know how, that I was not a chimney-
sweeper. The rest you saw. And now can you forgive me, sir?" said
Frederick to Mr. Eden, seizing hold of his hand.
"The other hand, friend," said the Quaker, gently withdrawing his right
hand, which everybody now observed was much swelled, and putting it into
his bosom again. "This, and welcome," offering his other hand to
Frederick, and shaking his with a smile.
"Oh, that other hand!" said Frederick, "that was hurt, I remember. How
ill I have behaved--extremely ill! But this is a lesson that I shall
never forget as long as I live. I hope for the future I shall behave
like a gentleman."
"And like a man--and like a good man, I am sure thou wilt," said the good
Quaker, shaking Frederick's hand affectionately; "or I am much mistaken,
friend, in that black countenance."
"You are not mistaken," cried Marianne. "Frederick will never be
persuaded again by anybody to do what he does not think right: and now,
brother, you may wash your black countenance."
Just when Frederick had got rid of half his black countenance, a double
knock was heard at the door. It was Mr. and Mrs. Montague. "What will
you do now?" whispered Mrs. Theresa to Frederick, as his father and
mother came into the room.
"A chimney-sweeper covered with blood!" exclaimed Mr. and Mrs. Montague.
"Father, I am Frederick," said he, stepping forward towards them, as they
stood in astonishment.
"Frederick! my son!"
"Yes, mother, I'm not hurt half so much as I deserve; I'll tell you--"
"Nay," interrupted Bertha, "let my brother tell the story this time.
Thou hast told it once, and told it well; no one but my brother could
tell it better."
"A story never tells so well the second time, to be sure," said Mrs.
Theresa; "but Mr. Eden will certainly make the best of it."
Without taking any notice of Mrs. Tattle, or her apprehensive looks, Mr.
Eden explained all he knew of the affair in a few words. "Your son,"
concluded he, "will quickly put off his dirty dress. The dress hath not
stained the mind; that is fair and honourable. When he found himself in
the wrong, he said so; nor was he in haste to conceal his adventure from
his father; this made me think well of both father and son. I speak
plainly, friend, for that is best. But what is become of the other
chimney-sweeper? He will want to go home," said Mr. Eden, turning to
Mrs. Theresa. Without making any reply, she hurried out of the room as
fast as possible, and returned in a few moments, with a look of extreme
"Here is a catastrophe indeed! Now, indeed, Mr. Frederick, your papa and
mamma have reason to be angry. A new suit of clothes!--the bare faced
villain! gone! no sign of them in my closet, or anywhere. The door was
locked; he must have gone up the chimney, out upon the leads, and so
escaped; but Christopher is after him. I protest, Mrs. Montague, you
take it too quietly. The wretch!--a new suit of clothes, blue coat and
buff waistcoat. I never heard of such a thing! I declare, Mr. Montague,
you are vastly good, not to be in a passion," added Mrs. Theresa.
"Madam," replied Mr. Montague, with a look of much civil contempt, "I
think the loss of a suit of clothes, and even the disgrace that my son
has been brought to this evening, fortunate circumstances in his
education. He will, I am persuaded, judge and act for himself more
wisely in future. Nor will he be tempted to offend against humanity, for
the sake of being called 'The best mimic in the world.'"
THE BARRING OUT; OR, PARTY SPIRIT.
"The mother of mischief," says an old proverb, "is no bigger than a
At Doctor Middleton's school, there was a great tall dunce of the name of
Fisher, who never could be taught how to look out a word in the
dictionary. He used to torment everybody with--"Do pray help me! I
can't make out this one word." The person who usually helped him in his
distress was a very clever, good natured boy, of the name of De Grey, who
had been many years under Dr. Middleton's care, and who, by his abilities
and good conduct, did him great credit. The doctor certainly was both
proud and fond of him; but he was so well beloved, or so much esteemed by
his companions, that nobody had ever called him by the odious name of
favourite, until the arrival of a new scholar of the name of Archer.
Till Archer came, the ideas of FAVOURITES and PARTIES were almost unknown
at Dr. Middleton's; but he brought all these ideas fresh from a great
public school, at which he had been educated--at which he had acquired a
sufficient quantity of Greek and Latin, and a superabundant quantity of
party spirit. His aim, the moment he came to a new school, was to get to
the head of it, or at least to form the strongest party. His influence,
for he was a boy of considerable abilities, was quickly felt, though he
had a powerful rival, as he thought proper to call him, in De Grey; and,
with HIM, a rival was always an enemy. De Grey, so far from giving him
any cause of hatred, treated him with a degree of cordiality, which would
probably have had an effect upon Archer's mind, if it had not been for
the artifices of Fisher.
It may seem surprising, that a GREAT DUNCE should be able to work upon a
boy like an Archer, who was called a great genius; but when genius is
joined to a violent temper, instead of being united to good sense, it is
at the mercy even of dunces.
Fisher was mortally offended one morning by De Grey's refusing to
translate his whole lesson for him. He went over to Archer, who,
considering him as a partisan deserting from the enemy, received him with
open arms, and translated his whole lesson without expressing MUCH
contempt for his stupidity. From this moment Fisher forgot all De Grey's
former kindness, and considered only how he could in his turn mortify the
person whom he felt to be so much his superior.
De Grey and Archer were now reading for a premium, which was to be given
in their class. Fisher betted on Archer's head, who had not sense enough
to despise the bet of a blockhead. On the contrary he suffered him to
excite the spirit of rivalship in its utmost fury by collecting the bets
of all the school. So that this premium now became a matter of the
greatest consequence, and Archer, instead of taking the means to secure a
judgment in his favour, was listening to the opinions of all his
companions. It was a prize which was to be won by his own exertions; but
he suffered himself to consider it as an affair of chance. The
consequence was, that he trusted to chance--his partisans lost their
wagers, and he the premium--and his temper.
"Mr. Archer," said Dr. Middleton, after the grand affair was decided,
"you have done all that genius alone could do; but you, De Grey, have
done all that genius and industry united could do."
"Well!" cried Archer, with affected gaiety, as soon as the doctor had
left the room--"Well, I'm content with MY sentence. Genius alone! for
me--industry for those who WANT it," added he, with a significant look at
Fisher applauded this as a very spirited speech; and, by insinuations
that Dr. Middleton "always gave the premium to De Grey," and that "those
who had lost their bets might thank themselves for it, for being such
simpletons as to bet against the favourite," he raised a murmur highly
flattering to Archer, amongst some of the most credulous boys; whilst
others loudly proclaimed their belief in Dr. Middleton's impartiality.
These warmly congratulated De Grey. At this Archer grew more and more
angry, and when Fisher was proceeding to speak nonsense FOR him, pushed
forward into the circle to De Grey, crying, "I wish, Mr. Fisher, you
would let me fight my own battles!"
"And _I_ wish," said young Townsend, who was fonder of diversions than of
premiums, or battles, or of anything else--"_I_ wish, that we were not to
have any battles; after having worked like horses, don't set about to
fight like dogs. Come," said he, tapping De Grey's shoulder, "let us see
your new playhouse, do--it's a holiday, and let us make the most of it.
Let us have the 'School for Scandal,' do; and I'll play Charles for you,
and you, De Grey, shall be MY LITTLE PREMIUM. Come, do open this new
playhouse of yours to-night."
"Come then!" said De Grey, and he ran across the playground to a waste
building at the farthest end of it, in which, at the earnest request of
the whole community, and with the permission of Dr. Middleton, he had
with much pain and ingenuity erected a theatre.
"The new theatre is going to be opened! Follow the manager! Follow the
manager!" echoed a multitude of voices.
"FOLLOW THE MANAGER!" echoed very disagreeably in Archer's ear; but as he
could not be LEFT ALONE, he was also obliged to follow the manager. The
moment that the door was unlocked, the crowd rushed in: the delight and
wonder expressed at the sight was great, and the applause and thanks
which were bestowed upon the manager were long and loud.
Archer at least thought them long, for he was impatient till his voice
could be heard. When at length the acclamations had spent themselves, he
walked across the stage with a knowing air, and looking round
"And is THIS your famous playhouse?" cried he. "I wish you had, any of
you, seen the playhouse _I_ have been used to?"
These words made a great and visible change in the feelings and opinions
of the public. "Who would be a servant of the public? or who would toil
for popular applause?" A few words spoken in a decisive tone by a new
voice operated as a charm, and the playhouse was in an instant
metamorphosed in the eyes of the spectators. All gratitude for the past
was forgotten, and the expectation of something better justified to the
capricious multitude their disdain of what they had so lately pronounced
to be excellent.
Everyone now began to criticise. One observed, "that the green curtain
was full of holes, and would not draw up." Another attacked the scenes;
"Scenes! they were not like real scenes--Archer must know best, because
he was used to these things." So everybody crowded to hear something of
the OTHER playhouse. They gathered round Archer to hear the description
of his playhouse, and at every sentence insulting comparisons were made.
When he had done, his auditors looked round, sighed and wished that
Archer had been their manager. They turned from De Grey as from a person
who had done them an injury. Some of his friends--for he had friends who
were not swayed by the popular opinion--felt indignation at this
ingratitude, and were going to express their feelings; but De Grey
stopped them, and begged that he might speak for himself.
"Gentlemen," said he, coming forward, as soon as he felt that he had
sufficient command of himself. "My friends, I see you are discontented
with me and my playhouse. I have done my best to please you; but if
anybody else can please you better, I shall be glad of it. I did not
work so hard for the glory of being your manager. You have my free leave
to tear down--" Here his voice faltered, but he hurried on--"You have my
free leave to tear down all my work as fast as you please. Archer, shake
hands first, however, to show that there's no malice in the case."
Archer, who was touched by what his rival said, and, stopping the hand of
his new partisan, Fisher, cried, "No, Fisher! no!--no pulling down. We
can alter it. There is a great deal of ingenuity in it, considering."
In vain Archer would now have recalled the public to reason,--the time
for reason was passed: enthusiasm had taken hold of their minds. "Down
with it! Down with it! Archer for ever!" cried Fisher, and tore down
the curtain. The riot once begun, nothing could stop the little mob,
till the whole theatre was demolished. The love of power prevailed in
the mind of Archer; he was secretly flattered by the zeal of his PARTY,
and he mistook their love of mischief for attachment to himself. De Grey
looked on superior. "I said I could bear to see all this, and I can,"
said he; "now it is all over." And now it was all over, there was
silence. The rioters stood still to take breath, and to look at what
they had done. There was a blank space before them.
In this moment of silence there was heard something like a voice. "Hush!
What strange voice is that?" said Archer. Fisher caught fast hold of his
arm. Everybody looked round to see where the voice came from. It was
dusk. Two window-shutters at the farthest end of the building were seen
to move slowly inwards. De Grey, and in the same instant Archer, went
forward; and, as the shutters opened, there appeared through the hole the
dark face and shrivelled hands of a very old gipsy. She did not speak;
but she looked first at one and then at another. At length she fixed her
eyes on De Grey. "Well, woman," said he, "what do you want with me?"
"Want!--nothing--with YOU," said the old woman; "do you want nothing with
"Nothing," said De Grey. Her eye immediately turned upon Archer,--"YOU
want something with me," said she, with emphasis.
"I--what do I want?" replied Archer.
"No," said she, changing her tone, "you want nothing--nothing will you
ever want, or I am much mistaken in that FACE."
In that WATCH-CHAIN, she should have said, for her quick eye had espied
Archer's watch-chain. He was the only person in the company who had a
watch, and she therefore judged him to be the richest.
"Had you ever your fortune told, sir, in your life?"
"Not I!" said he, looking at De Grey, as if he was afraid of his
ridicule, if he listened to the gipsy.
"Not you! No! for you will make your own fortune, and the fortune of all
that belong to you!"
"There's good news for my friends!" cried Archer.
"And I'm one of them, remember that," cried Fisher. "And I," "And I,"
joined a number of voices.
"Good luck to them!" cried the gipsy, "good luck to them all!"
Then, as soon as they had acquired sufficient confidence in her good
will, they pressed up to the window. "There," cried Townsend, as he
chanced to stumble over the carpenter's mitre box, which stood in the
way, "there's a good omen for me. I've stumbled on the mitre box; I
shall certainly be a bishop."
Happy he who had sixpence, for he bid fair to be a judge upon the bench.
And happier he who had a shilling, for he was in the high road to be one
day upon the woolsack, Lord High Chancellor of England. No one had half
a crown, or no one would surely have kept it in his pocket upon such an
occasion, for he might have been an archbishop, a king, or what he
Fisher, who like all weak people was extremely credulous, kept his post
immovable in the front row all the time, his mouth open, and his stupid
eyes fixed upon the gipsy, in whom he felt implicit faith.
Those who have least confidence in their own powers, and who have least
expectation from the success of their own exertions, are always most
disposed to trust in fortune-tellers and fortune. They hope to WIN, when
they cannot EARN; and as they can never be convinced by those who speak
sense, it is no wonder they are always persuaded by those who talk
"I have a question to put," said Fisher, in a solemn tone.
"Put it, then," said Archer, "what hinders you?"
"But they will hear me," said he, looking suspiciously at De Grey.
"_I_ shall not hear you," said De Grey, "I am going." Everybody else
drew back, and left him to whisper his question in the gipsy's ear.
"What is become of my Livy?"
"Your SISTER Livy, do you mean?" said the gipsy.
"No, my LATIN Livy."
The gipsy paused for information. "It had a leaf torn out in the
beginning, and I HATE DR. MIDDLETON--"
"Written in it," interrupted the gipsy.
"Right--the very book!" cried Fisher with joy. "But how COULD you know
it was Dr. Middleton's name? I thought I had scratched it, so that
nobody could make it out."
"Nobody COULD make it out but ME," replied the gipsy. "But never think
to deceive me," said she, shaking her head at him in a manner that made
"I don't deceive you indeed, I tell you the whole truth. I lost it a
"And when shall I find it?"
"Meet me here at this hour to-morrow evening, and I will answer you. No
more! I must be gone. Not a word more to-night."
She pulled the shutters towards her, and left the youth in darkness. All
his companions were gone. He had been so deeply engaged in this
conference, that he had not perceived their departure. He found all the
world at supper, but no entreaties could prevail upon him to disclose his
secret. Townsend rallied in vain. As for Archer, he was not disposed to
destroy by ridicule the effect which he saw that the old woman's
predictions in his favour had had upon the imagination of many of his
little partisans. He had privately slipped two good shillings into the
gipsy's hand to secure her; for he was willing to pay any price for ANY
means of acquiring power.
The watch-chain had not deceived the gipsy, for Archer was the richest
person in the community. His friends had imprudently supplied him with
more money than is usually trusted to boys of his age. Dr. Middleton had
refused to give him a larger monthly allowance than the rest of his
companions; but he brought to school with him secretly the sum of five
guineas. This appeared to his friends and to himself an inexhaustible
Riches and talents would, he flattered himself, secure to him that
ascendancy of which he was so ambitious. "Am I your manager, or not?"
was now his question. "I scorn to take advantage of a hasty moment; but
since last night you have had time to consider. If you desire me to be
your manager, you shall see what a theatre I will make for you. In this
purse," said he, showing through the network a glimpse of the shining
treasure--"in this purse is Aladdin's wonderful lamp. Am I your manager?
Put it to the vote."
It was put to the vote. About ten of the most reasonable of the assembly
declared their gratitude and high approbation of their old friend, De
Grey; but the numbers were in favour of the new friend. And as no
metaphysical distinctions relative to the idea of a majority had ever
entered their thoughts, the most numerous party considered themselves as
now beyond dispute in the right. They drew off on one side in triumph,
and their leader, who knew the consequence of a name in party matters,
immediately distinguished his partisans by the gallant name of ARCHERS,
stigmatizing the friends of De Grey by the odious epithet of Greybeards.
Amongst the Archers was a class not very remarkable for their mental
qualifications; but who, by their bodily activity, and by the peculiar
advantages annexed to their way of life, rendered themselves of the
highest consequence, especially to the rich and enterprising.
The judicious reader will apprehend that I allude to the persons called
day scholars. Amongst these, Fisher was distinguished by his knowledge
of all the streets and shops in the adjacent town; and, though a dull
scholar, he had such reputation as a man of business, that whoever had
commissions to execute at the confectioner's, was sure to apply to him.
Some of the youngest of his employers had, it is true, at times
complained that he made mistakes of halfpence and pence in their
accounts; but as these affairs could never be brought to a public trial,
Fisher's character and consequence were undiminished, till the fatal day
when his Aunt Barbara forbade his visits to the confectioner's; or,
rather, till she requested the confectioner, who had his private reasons
for obeying her, not TO RECEIVE her nephew's visits, as he had made
himself sick at his house, and Mrs. Barbara's fears for his health were
Though his visits to the confectioner's were thus at an end, there were
many other shops open to him; and with officious zeal he offered his
services to the new manager, to purchase whatever might be wanting for
Since his father's death Fisher had become a boarder at Dr. Middleton's,
but his frequent visits to his Aunt Barbara afforded him opportunities of
going into the town. The carpenter, De Grey's friend, was discarded by
Archer, for having said "LACK-A-DAISY!" when he saw that the old theatre
was pulled down. A new carpenter and paper hanger, recommended by
Fisher, were appointed to attend, with their tools, for orders, at two
o'clock. Archer, impatient to show his ingenuity and his generosity,
gave his plan and his orders in a few minutes, in a most decided manner;
"These things," he observed, "should be done with some spirit."
To which the carpenter readily assented, and added, that "gentlemen of
spirit never looked to the EXPENSE, but always to the EFFECT." Upon this
principle Mr. Chip set to work with all possible alacrity. In a few
hours' time he promised to produce a grand effect. High expectations
were formed. Nothing was talked of but the new playhouse; and so intent
upon it was every head, that no lessons could be got. Archer was
obliged, in the midst of his various occupations, to perform the part of
grammar and dictionary for twenty different people.
"O ye Athenians!" he exclaimed, "how hard do I work to obtain your
Impatient to return to the theatre, the moment the hours destined for
instruction, or, as they are termed by schoolboys, school-hours, were
over, each prisoner started up with a shout of joy.
"Stop one moment, gentlemen, if you please," said Dr. Middleton, in an
awful voice. "Mr. Archer, return to your place. Are you all here?" The
names of all the boys were called over, and when each had answered to his
name, Dr. Middleton said--
"Gentlemen, I am sorry to interrupt your amusements; but, till you have
contrary orders from me, no one, on pain of my serious displeasure, must
go into THAT building" (pointing to the place where the theatre was
erecting). "Mr. Archer, your carpenter is at the door. You will be so
good as to dismiss him. I do not think proper to give my reasons for
these orders; but you who KNOW me," said the doctor, and his eye turned
towards De Grey, "will not suspect me of caprice. I depend, gentlemen,
upon your obedience."
To the dead silence with which these orders were received, succeeded in a
few minutes a universal groan. "So!" said Townsend, "all our diversion
is over." "So," whispered Fisher in the manager's ear, "this is some
trick of the Greybeard's. Did you not observe how he looked at De Grey?"
Fired by this thought, which had never entered his mind before, Archer
started from his reverie, and striking his hand upon the table, swore
that he "would not be outwitted by any Greybeard in Europe--no, nor by
all of them put together. The Archers were surely a match for them. He
would stand by them, if they would stand by him," he declared, with a
loud voice, "against the whole world, and Dr. Middleton himself, with
'LITTLE PREMIUMS' at his right hand."
Everybody admired Archer's spirit, but were a little appalled at the
sound of standing against Dr. Middleton.
"Why not?" resumed the indignant manager. "Neither Dr. Middleton nor any
doctor upon earth shall treat me with injustice. This, you see, is a
stroke at me and my party, and I won't bear it."
"Oh, you are mistaken!" said De Grey, who was the only one who dared to
oppose reason to the angry orator. "It cannot be a stroke aimed at 'you
and your party,' for he does not know that you HAVE a party."
"I'll make him know it, and I'll make YOU know it, too," said Archer.
"Before I came here you reigned alone, now your reign is over, Mr. De
Grey. Remember my majority this morning, and your theatre last night."
"He has remembered it," said Fisher. "You see, the moment he was not to
be our manager, we were to have no theatre, no playhouse, no plays. We
must all sit down with our hands before us--all for 'GOOD REASONS' of Dr.
Middleton's, which he does not vouchsafe to tell us."
"I won't be governed by any man's reasons that he won't tell me," cried
Archer. "He cannot have good reasons, or why not tell them?"
"Nonsense!" said De Grey. "WE SHALL NOT SUSPECT HIM OF CAPRICE!"
"Because we who know him, have never known him capricious."
"Perhaps not. _I_ know nothing about him," said Archer.
"No," said De Grey; "for that very reason _I_ speak who do know him.
Don't be in a passion, Archer."
"I will be in a passion. I won't submit to tyranny. I won't be made a
fool of by a few soft words. You don't know me, De Grey. I'll go
through with what I've begun. I am manager, and I will be manager; and
you shall see my theatre finished in spite of you, and MY party
"Party," repeated De Grey. "I cannot imagine what is in the word 'party'
that seems to drive you mad. We never heard of parties till you came
"No; before I came, I say, nobody dared oppose you; but I dare; and I
tell you to your face, take care of me--a warm friend and a bitter enemy
is my motto."
"I am not your enemy! I believe you are out of your senses, Archer!"
said he, laughing.
"Out of my senses! No; you are my enemy! Are you not my rival? Did not
you win the premium? Did not you want to be manager? Answer me, are not
you, in one word, a Greybeard?"
"You called me a Greybeard, but my name is De Grey," said he, still
"Laugh on!" cried the other, furiously. "Come, ARCHERS, follow me. WE
shall laugh by-and-by, I promise you." At the door Archer was stopped by
Mr. Chip. "Oh, Mr. Chip, I am ordered to discharge you."
"Yes, sir; and here's a little bill--"
"Bill, Mr. Chip! why, you have not been at work for two hours!"
"Not much over, sir; but if you'll please to look into it, you'll see
'tis for a few things you ordered. The stuff is all laid out and
delivered. The paper and the festoon-bordering for the drawing room
scene is cut out, and left yAnder within."
"YAnder, within! I wish you had not been in such a confounded hurry--
six-and-twenty shillings!" cried he; "but I can't stay to talk about it
now. I'll tell you, Mr. Chip," said Archer, lowering his voice, "what
you must do for me, my good fellow."
Then, drawing Mr. Chip aside, he begged him to pull down some of the wood
work which had been put up, and to cut it into a certain number of wooden
bars, of which he gave him the dimensions, with orders to place them all,
when ready, under a haystack, which he pointed out.
Mr. Chip scrupled and hesitated, and began to talk of "THE DOCTOR."
Archer immediately began to talk of the bill, and throwing down a guinea
and a half, the conscientious carpenter pocketed the money directly, and
made his bow.
"Well, Master Archer," said he, "there's no refusing you nothing. You
have such a way of talking one out of it. You manage me just like a
"Ay, ay!" said Archer, knowing that he had been cheated, and yet proud of
managing a carpenter, "ay, ay! I know the way to manage everybody. Let
the things be ready in an hour's time, and hark'e! leave your tools by
mistake behind you, and a thousand of twenty-penny nails. Ask no
questions, and keep your own counsel like a wise man. Off with you, and
take care of 'THE DOCTOR.'"
"Archers, Archers, to the Archers' tree! Follow your leader," cried he,
sounding his well known whistle as a signal. His followers gathered
round him, and he, raising himself upon the mount at the foot of the
tree, counted his numbers, and then, in a voice lower than usual,
addressed them thus:--"My friends, is there a Greybeard amongst us? If
there is, let him walk off at once, he has my free leave." No one
stirred. "Then we are all Archers, and we will stand by one another.
Join hands, my friends." They all joined hands. "Promise me not to
betray me, and I will go on. I ask no security but your honour." They
all gave their honour to be secret and FAITHFUL, as he called it, and he
went on. "Did you ever hear of such a thing as a 'BARRING OUT,' my
friends?" They had heard of such a thing, but they had only heard of it.
Archer gave the history of a "Barring Out," in which he had been
concerned at his school, in which the boys stood out against the master,
and gained their point at last, which was a week's more holidays at
Easter.* "But if WE should not succeed," said they, "Dr. Middleton is
so steady; he never goes back from what he has said."
"Did you ever try to push him back? Let us be steady and he'll tremble.
Tyrants always tremble when--"
"Oh," interrupted a number of voices; "but he is not a tyrant--is he?"
"All schoolmasters are tyrants--are not they?" replied Archer; "and is
not he a schoolmaster?"
To this logic there was no answer; but, still reluctant, they asked,
"What they should GET by a Barring Out?"
"Get!--everything!--what we want!--which is everything to lads of spirit-
-victory and liberty! Bar him out till he repeals his tyrannical law;
till he lets us into our own theatre again, or till he tells us his 'GOOD
REASONS' against it."
"But perhaps he has reasons for not telling us."
"Impossible!" cried Archer, "that's the way we are always to be governed
by a man in a wig, who says he has good reasons, and can't tell them.
Are you fools? Go! go back to De Grey! I see you are all Greybeards.
Go! Who goes first?" Nobody would go FIRST. "I will have nothing to do
with ye, if ye are resolved to be slaves!" "We won't be slaves!" they
all exclaimed at once. "Then," said Archer, "stand out in the right and
*[This custom of "BARRING OUT" was very general (especially in the
northern parts of England) during the 17th and 18th centuries, and it has
been fully described by Brand and other antiquarian writers.
Dr. Johnson mentions that Addison, while under the tuition of Mr. Shaw,
master of the Lichfield Grammar School, led, and successfully conducted,
"a plan for BARRING OUT his master. A disorderly privilege," says the
doctor, "which, in his time, prevailed in the principal seminaries of
In the Gentleman's Magazine of 1828, Dr. P. A. Nuttall, under the
signature of II. A. N., has given a spirited sketch of a "BARRING OUT" at
the Ormskirk Grammar School, which has since been republished at length
(though without acknowledgment), by Sir Henry Ellis, in Bohn's recent
edition of Brand's "Popular Antiquities." This operation took place
early in the present century, and is interesting from its being, perhaps,
the last attempt on record, and also from the circumstance of the writer
himself having been one of the juvenile leaders in the daring adventure,
"quo rum pars magna fuit,"--Ed.]
"THE RIGHT." It would have taken up too much time to examine what "THE
RIGHT" was. Archer was always sure that "THE RIGHT" was what his party
chose to do; that is, what he chose to do himself; and such is the
influence of numbers upon each other, in conquering the feelings of shame
and in confusing the powers of reasoning, that in a few minutes "the
right" was forgotten, and each said to himself, "To be sure, Archer is a
very clever boy, and he can't be mistaken"; or, "to be sure, Townsend
thinks so, and he would not do anything to get us into a scrape"; or, "to
be sure, everybody will agree to this but myself, and I can't stand out
alone, to be pointed at as a Greybeard and a slave. Everybody thinks it
is right, and everybody can't be wrong."
By some of these arguments, which passed rapidly through the mind without
his being conscious of them, each boy decided, and deceived himself--what
none would have done alone, none scrupled to do as a party. It was
determined, then, that there should be a Barring Out. The arrangement of
the affair was left to their new manager, to whom they all pledged
implicit obedience. Obedience, it seems, is necessary, even from rebels
to their ringleaders; not reasonable, but implicit obedience.
Scarcely had the assembly adjourned to the Ball-alley, when Fisher, with
an important length of face, came up to the manager, and desired to speak
one word to him. "My advice to you, Archer, is, to do nothing in this
till we have consulted, YOU KNOW WHO, about whether it's right or wrong."
"'YOU KNOW WHO!' Whom do you mean? Make haste, and don't make so many
faces, for I'm in a hurry. Who is 'YOU KNOW WHO?'"
"The old woman," said Fisher, gravely; "the gipsy."
"You may consult the old woman," said Archer, bursting out a-laughing,
"about what's right and wrong, if you please; but no old woman shall
decide for me."
"No; but you don't TAKE me," said Fisher; "you don't TAKE me. By right
and wrong, I mean lucky and unlucky."
"Whatever _I_ do will be lucky," replied Archer. "My gipsy told you that
"I know, I know," said Fisher, "and what she said about your friends
being lucky--that went a great way with many," added he, with a sagacious
nod of his head; "I can tell you THAT--more than you think. Do you
know," said he, laying hold of Archer's button, "I'm in the secret.
There are nine of us have crooked our little fingers upon it, not to stir
a step till we get her advice; and she has appointed me to meet her about
particular business of my own at eight. So I'm to consult her and to
bring her answer."
Archer knew too well how to govern fools, to attempt to reason with them;
and, instead of laughing any longer at Fisher's ridiculous superstition,
he was determined to take advantage of it. He affected to be persuaded
of the wisdom of the measure; looked at his watch; urged him to be exact
to a moment; conjured him to remember exactly the words of the oracle;
and, above all things, to demand the lucky hour and minute when the
Barring Out should begin. With these instructions Archer put his watch
into the solemn dupe's hand, and left him to count the seconds, till the
moment of his appointment, whilst he ran off himself to prepare the
At a little gate which looked into a lane, through which he guessed that
the gipsy must pass, he stationed himself, saw her, gave her half a crown
and her instructions, made his escape, and got back unsuspected to
Fisher, whom he found in the attitude in which he had left him, watching
the motion of the minute hand.
Proud of his secret commission, Fisher slouched his hat, he knew not why,
over his face, and proceeded towards the appointed spot. To keep, as he
had been charged by Archer, within the letter of the law, he stood BEHIND
the forbidden building, and waited some minutes.
Through a gap in the hedge the old woman at length made her appearance,
muffled up, and looking cautiously about her. "There's nobody near us!"
said Fisher, and he began to be a little afraid. "What answer," said he,
recollecting himself, "about my Livy?"
"Lost! lost! lost!" said the gipsy, lifting up her hands; "never, never,
never to be found! But no matter for that now; that is not your errand
to-night; no tricks with me; speak to me of what is next your heart."
Fisher, astonished, put his hand upon his heart, told her all that she
knew before, and received the answers that Archer had dictated: "That
the Archers should be lucky as long as they stuck to their manager, and
to one another; that the Barring Out should end in woe, if not begun
precisely as the clock should strike nine on Wednesday night; but if
begun in that LUCKY moment, and all obedient to their LUCKY leader, all
should end well."
A thought, a provident thought, now struck Fisher; for even he had some
foresight where his favourite passion was concerned. "Pray, in our
Barring Out shall we be starved?"
"No," said the gipsy, "not if you trust to me for food, and if you give
me money enough. Silver won't do for so many; gold is what must cross my
"I have no gold," said Fisher, "and I don't know what you mean by 'so
many.' I'm only talking of number one, you know. I must take care of
So, as Fisher thought it was possible that Archer, clever as he was,
might be disappointed in his supplies, he determined to take secret
measures for himself. His Aunt Barbara's interdiction had shut him out
of the confectioner's shop; but he flattered himself that he could outwit
his aunt; he therefore begged the gipsy to procure him twelve buns by
Thursday morning, and bring them secretly to one of the windows of the
As Fisher did not produce any money when he made this proposal, it was at
first absolutely rejected; but a bribe at length conquered his
difficulties; and the bribe which Fisher found himself obliged to give--
for he had no pocket money left of his own, he being as much RESTRICTED
in that article as Archer was INDULGED--the bribe that he found himself
obliged to give to quiet the gipsy was half a crown, which Archer had
intrusted to him to buy candles for the theatre. "Oh," thought he to
himself; "Archer's so careless about money, he will never think of asking
me for the half-crown again; and now he'll want no candles for the
THEATRE; or, at anyrate, it will be some time first; and maybe, Aunt
Barbara may be got to give me that much at Christmas; then, if the worst
comes to the worst, one can pay Archer. My mouth waters for the buns,
and have 'em I must now."
So, for the hope of twelve buns, he sacrificed the money which had been
intrusted to him. Thus the meanest motives, in mean minds often prompt
to the commission of those great faults, to which one should think
nothing but some violent passion could have tempted.
The ambassador having thus, in his opinion, concluded his own and the
public business, returned well satisfied with the result, after receiving
the gipsy's reiterated promise to tap THREE TIMES at the window on
The day appointed for the Barring Out at length arrived; and Archer,
assembling the confederates, informed them, that all was prepared for
carrying their design into execution; that he now depended for success
upon their punctuality and courage. He had, within the last two hours,
got all their bars ready to fasten the doors and window shutters of the
schoolroom; he had, with the assistance of two of the day scholars who
were of the party, sent into the town for provisions, at his own expense,
which would make a handsome supper for that night; he had also negotiated
with some cousins of his, who lived in the town, for a constant supply in
future. "Bless me," exclaimed Archer, suddenly stopping in this
narration of his services, "there's one thing, after all, I've forgot, we
shall be undone without it. Fisher, pray did you ever buy the candles
for the playhouse?"
"No, to be sure," replied Fisher, extremely frightened; "you know you
don't want candles for the playhouse now."
"Not for the playhouse, but for the Barring Out. We shall be in the
dark, man. You must run this minute, run."
"For candles?" said Fisher, confused; "how many?--what sort?"
"Stupidity!" exclaimed Archer, "you are a pretty fellow at a dead lift!
Lend me a pencil and a bit of paper, do; I'll write down what I want
myself! Well, what are you fumbling for?"
"For money!" said Fisher, colouring.
"Money, man! Didn't I give you half a crown the other day?"
"Yes," replied Fisher, stammering; "but I wasn't sure that that might be
"Enough! yes, to be sure it will. I don't know what you are AT."
"Nothing, nothing," said Fisher, "here, write upon this, then," said
Fisher, putting a piece of paper into Archer's hand, upon which Archer
wrote his orders. "Away, away!" cried he.
Away went Fisher. He returned; but not until a considerable time
afterwards. They were at supper when he returned. "Fisher always comes
in at supper-time," observed one of the Greybeards, carelessly.
"Well, and would you have him come in AFTER supper-time?" said Townsend,
who always supplied his party with ready wit.
"I've got the candles," whispered Fisher as he passed by Archer to his
"And the tinder-box?" said Archer.
"Yes; I got back from my Aunt Barbara under pretence that I must study
for repetition day an hour later to-night. So I got leave. Was not that
A dunce always thinks it clever to cheat even by SOBER LIES. How Mr.
Fisher procured the candles and the tinder box without money, and without
credit, we shall discover further on.
Archer and his associates had agreed to stay the last in the schoolroom;
and as soon as the Greybeards were gone out to bed, he, as the signal,
was to shut and lock one door, Townsend the other. A third conspirator
was to strike a light, in case they should not be able to secure a
candle. A fourth was to take charge of the candle as soon as lighted;
and all the rest were to run to their bars, which were secreted in a
room; then to fix them to the common fastening bars of the window, in the
manner in which they had been previously instructed by the manager. Thus
each had his part assigned, and each was warned that the success of the
whole depended upon their order and punctuality.
Order and punctuality, it appears, are necessary even in a Barring Out;
and even rebellion must have its laws.
The long expected moment at length arrived. De Grey and his friends,
unconscious of what was going forward, walked out of the schoolroom as
usual at bedtime. The clock began to strike nine. There was one
Greybeard left in the room, who was packing up some of his books, which
had been left about by accident. It is impossible to describe the
impatience with which he was watched, especially by Fisher, and the nine
who depended upon the gipsy oracle.
When he had got all his books together under his arm, he let one of them
fall; and whilst he stooped to pick it up, Archer gave the signal. The
doors were shut, locked, and double-locked in an instant. A light was
struck and each ran to his post. The bars were all in the same moment
put up to the windows, and Archer, when he had tried them all, and seen
that they were secure, gave a loud "Huzza!"--in which he was joined by
all the party most manfully--by all but the poor Greybeard, who, the
picture of astonishment, stood stock still in the midst of them with his
books under his arm; at which spectacle Townsend, who enjoyed the FROLIC
of the fray more than anything else, burst into an immoderate fit of
laughter. "So, my little Greybeard," said he, holding a candle full in
his eyes, "what think you of all this?--How came you amongst the wicked
"I don't know, indeed," said the little boy, very gravely: "you shut me
up amongst you. Won't you let me out?"
"Let you out! No, no, my little Greybeard," said Archer, catching hold
of him, and dragging him to the window bars. "Look ye here--touch these-
-put your hand to them--pull, push, kick--put a little spirit into it,
man--kick like an Archer, if you can; away with ye. It's a pity that the
king of the Greybeards is not here to admire me. I should like to show
him our fortifications. But come, my merry men all, now to the feast.
Out with the table into the middle of the room. Good cheer, my jolly
Archers! I'm your manager!"
Townsend, delighted with the bustle, rubbed his hands, and capered about
the room, whilst the preparations for the feast were hurried forward.
"Four candles!--Four candles on the table. Let's have things in style
when we are about it, Mr. Manager," cried Townsend. "Places!--Places!
There's nothing like a fair scramble, my boys. Let everyone take care of
himself. Hallo! Greybeard, I've knocked Greybeard down here in the
scuffle. Get up again, my lad, and see a little life."
"No, no," cried Fisher, "he sha'n't SUP with us."
"No, no," cried the manager, "he shan't LIVE with us; a Greybeard is not
fit company for Archers."
"No, no," cried Townsend, "evil communication corrupts good manners."
So with one unanimous hiss they hunted the poor little gentle boy into a
corner; and having pent him up with benches, Fisher opened his books for
him, which he thought the greatest mortification, and set up a candle
beside him--"There, now he looks like a Greybeard as he is!" cried they.
"Tell me what's the Latin for cold roast beef?" said Fisher, exultingly,
and they returned to their feast.
Long and loud they revelled. They had a few bottles of cider. "Give me
the corkscrew, the cider sha'n't be kept till it's sour," cried Townsend,
in answer to the manager, who, when he beheld the provisions vanishing
with surprising rapidity, began to fear for the morrow. "Hang to-
morrow!" cried Townsend, "let Greybeards think of to-morrow; Mr. Manager,
here's your good health."
The Archers all stood up as their cups were filled to drink the health of
their chief with a universal cheer. But at the moment that the cups were
at their lips, and as Archer bowed to thank the company, a sudden shower
from above astonished the whole assembly. They looked up, and beheld the
rose of a watering-engine, whose long neck appeared through a trap door
in the ceiling. "Your good health, Mr. Manager!" said a voice, which was
known to be the gardener's; and in the midst of their surprise and dismay
the candles were suddenly extinguished; the trap-door shut down; and they
were left in utter darkness.
"The DEVIL!" said Archer."
"Don't swear, Mr. Manager," said the same voice from the ceiling, "I hear
every word you say."
"Mercy upon us!" exclaimed Fisher. "The clock," added he, whispering,
"must have been wrong, for it had not done striking when we began. Only,
you remember, Archer, it had just done before you had done locking your
"Hold your tongue, blockhead!" said Archer. "Well, boys! were ye never
in the dark before? You are not afraid of a shower of rain, I hope. Is
"No," said they, with a faint laugh, "but what shall we do here in the
dark all night long, and all day to-morrow? We can't unbar the
"It's a wonder NOBODY ever thought of the trap-door!" said Townsend.
The trap-door had indeed escaped the manager's observation. As the house
was new to him, and the ceiling being newly white-washed, the opening was
scarcely perceptible. Vexed to be out-generalled, and still more vexed
to have it remarked, Archer poured forth a volley of incoherent
exclamations and reproaches against those who were thus so soon
discouraged by a trifle; and groping for the tinder-box, he asked if
anything could be easier than to strike a light again.* The light
appeared. But at the moment that it made the tinder-box visible, another
shower from above, aimed, and aimed exactly, at the tinder-box, drenched
it with water, and rendered it totally unfit for further service. Archer
in a fury dashed it to the ground. And now for the first time he felt
what it was to be the unsuccessful head of a party. He heard in his turn
the murmurs of a discontented, changeable populace; and recollecting all
his bars and bolts, and ingenious contrivances, he was more provoked at
their blaming him for this one only oversight than he was grieved at the
*Lucifer matches were then unknown.--Ed.
"Oh, my hair is all wet!" cried one, dolefully.
"Wring it, then," said Archer.
"My hand's cut with your broken glass," cried another.
"Glass!" cried a third; "mercy! is there broken glass? and it's all
about, I suppose, amongst the supper; and I had but one bit of bread all
"Bread!" cried Archer; "eat if you want it. Here's a piece here, and no
glass near it."
"It's all wet, and I don't like dry bread by itself; that's no feast."
"Heigh-day! What, nothing but moaning and grumbling! If these are the
joys of a Barring Out," cried Townsend, "I'd rather be snug in my bed. I
expected that we should have sat up till twelve o'clock, talking, and
laughing, and singing."
"So you may still; what hinders you?" said Archer. "Sing, and we'll join
you, and I should be glad those fellows overhead heard us singing.
"'Come now, all ye social Powers,
Spread your influence o'er us'--
"'Rule, Britannia! Britannia rules the waves!
Britons never will be slaves.'"
Nothing can be more melancholy than forced merriment. In vain they
roared in chorus. In vain they tried to appear gay. It would not do.
The voices died away, and dropped off one by one. They had each provided
himself with a great-coat to sleep upon; but now, in the dark, there was
a peevish scrambling contest for the coats, and half the company, in very
bad humour, stretched themselves upon the benches for the night.
There is great pleasure in bearing anything that has the appearance of
hardship as long as there is any glory to be acquired by it: but when
people feel themselves foiled, there is no further pleasure in endurance;
and if, in their misfortune, there is any mixture of the ridiculous, the
motives for heroism are immediately destroyed. Dr. Middleton had
probably considered this in the choice he made of his first attack.
Archer, who had spent the night as a man who had the cares of government
upon his shoulders, rose early in the morning, whilst everybody else was
fast asleep. In the night he had resolved the affair of the trap-door,
and a new danger had alarmed him. It was possible that the enemy might
descend upon them through the trap-door. The room had been built high to
admit a free circulation of air. It was twenty feet, so that it was in
vain to think of reaching to the trap-door.
As soon as the daylight appeared, Archer rose softly, that he might
RECONNOITRE, and devise some method of guarding against this new danger.
Luckily there were round holes in the top of the window-shutters, which
admitted sufficient light for him to work by. The remains of the soaked
feast, wet candles, and broken glass spread over the table in the middle
of the room, looked rather dismal this morning.
'A pretty set of fellows I have to manage!" said Archer, contemplating
the group of sleepers before him. "It is well they have somebody to
think for them. Now if I wanted--which, thank goodness, I don't--but if
I did want to call a cabinet council to my assistance, whom could I pitch
upon? not this stupid snorer, who is dreaming of gipsies, if he is
dreaming of anything," continued Archer, as he looked into Fisher's open
mouth. "This next chap is quick enough; but, then, he is so fond of
having everything his own way. And this curl pated monkey, who is
grinning in his sleep, is all tongue and no brains. Here are brains,
though nobody would think it, in this lump," said he, looking at a fat,
rolled up, heavy breathing sleeper; "but what signify brains to such a
lazy dog? I might kick him for my football this half hour before I
should get him awake. This lank jawed harlequin beside him is a handy
fellow, to be sure; but, then, if he has hands, he has no head--and he'd
be afraid of his own shadow too, by this light, he is such a coward! And
Townsend, why, he has puns in plenty; but, when there's any work to be
done, he's the worst fellow to be near one in the world--he can do
nothing but laugh at his own puns. This poor little fellow that we
hunted into the corner has more sense than all of them put together; but
then he is a Greybeard."
Thus speculated the chief of a party upon his sleeping friends. And how
did it happen that he should be so ambitious to please and govern this
set, when, for each individual of which it was composed, he felt such
supreme contempt? He had formed them into a PARTY, had given them a
name, and he was at their head. If these be not good reasons, none
better can be assigned for Archer's conduct.
"I wish ye could all sleep on," said he; "but I must waken ye, though you
will be only in my way. The sound of my hammering must waken them; so I
may as well do the thing handsomely, and flatter some of them by
pretending to ask their advice."
Accordingly, he pulled two or three to waken them. "Come, Townsend,
waken, my boy! Here's some diversion for you--up! up!"
"Diversion!" cried Townsend; "I'm your man! I'm up--UP TO ANYTHING."
So, under the name of DIVERSION, Archer set Townsend to work at four
o'clock in the morning. They had nails, a few tools, and several spars,
still left from the wreck of the playhouse. These, by Archer's
directions, they sharpened at one end, and nailed them to the ends of
All hands were now called to clear away the supper things, to erect these
forms perpendicularly under the trap-door; and with the assistance of a
few braces, a chevaux-de-frise was formed, upon which nobody could
venture to descend. At the farthest end of the room they likewise formed
a penthouse of the tables, under which they proposed to breakfast, secure
from the pelting storm, if it should again assail them through the trap-
door. They crowded under the penthouse as soon as it was ready, and
their admiration of its ingenuity paid the workmen for the job.
"Lord! I shall like to see the gardener's phiz through the trap-door,
when he beholds the spikes under him!" cried Townsend. "Now for
"Ay, now for breakfast," said Archer, looking at his watch; "past eight
o'clock, and my town boys not come! I don't understand this!"
Archer had expected a constant supply of provisions from two boys who
lived in the town, who were cousins of his, and who had promised to come
every day, and put food in at a certain hole in the wall, in which a
ventilator usually turned. This ventilator Archer had taken down, and
had contrived it so that it could be easily removed and replaced at
pleasure; but, upon examination, it was now perceived that the hole had
been newly stopped up by an iron back, which it was impossible to
penetrate or remove.
"It never came into my head that anybody would ever have thought of the
ventilator but myself!" exclaimed Archer, in great perplexity. He
listened and waited for his cousins; but no cousins came, and at a late
hour the company were obliged to breakfast upon the scattered fragments
of the last night's feast. That feast had been spread with such
imprudent profusion, that little now remained to satisfy the hungry
Archer, who well knew the effect which the apprehension of a scarcity
would have upon his associates, did everything that could be done by a
bold countenance and reiterated assertions to persuade them that his
cousins would certainly come at last and that the supplies were only
delayed. The delay, however, was alarming.
Fisher alone heard the manager's calculations and saw the public fears
unmoved. Secretly rejoicing in his own wisdom, he walked from window to
window, slily listening for the gipsy's signal. "There it is!" cried he
with more joy sparkling in his eyes than had ever enlightened them
before. "Come this way, Archer; but don't tell anybody. Hark! do ye
hear those three taps at the window? This is the old woman with twelve
buns for me. I'll give you one whole one for yourself, if you will unbar
the window for me."
"Unbar the window!" interrupted Archer; "no, that I won't, for you or the
gipsy either; but I have heard enough to get your buns without that. But
stay; there is something of more consequence than your twelve buns. I
must think for ye all, I see, regularly."
So he summoned a council, and proposed that everyone should subscribe,
and trust the subscription to the gipsy, to purchase a fresh supply of
provisions. Archer laid down a guinea of his own money for his
subscription; at which sight all the company clapped their hands, and his
popularity rose to a high pitch with their renewed hopes of plenty. Now,
having made a list of their wants, they folded the money in the paper,
put it into a bag, which Archer tied to a long string, and, having broken
the pane of glass behind the round hole in the window-shutter, he let
down the bag to the gipsy. She promised to be punctual, and having
filled the bag with Fisher's twelve buns, they were drawn up in triumph,
and everybody anticipated the pleasure with which they should see the
same bag drawn up at dinner-time. The buns were a little squeezed in
being drawn through the hole in the window-shutter; but Archer
immediately sawed out a piece of the shutter, and broke the corresponding
panes in each of the other windows, to prevent suspicion, and to make it
appear that they had all been broken to admit air.
What a pity that so much ingenuity should have been employed to no
It may have surprised the intelligent reader that the gipsy was so
punctual to her promise to Fisher, but we must recollect that her
apparent integrity was only cunning; she was punctual that she might be
employed again, that she might be intrusted with the contribution which,
she foresaw, must be raised amongst the famishing garrison. No sooner
had she received the money than her end was gained.
Dinner-time came; it struck three, four, five, six. They listened with
hungry ears, but no signal was heard. The morning had been very long,
and Archer had in vain tried to dissuade them from devouring the
remainder of the provisions before they were sure of a fresh supply. And
now those who had been the most confident were the most impatient of
Archer, in the division of the food, had attempted, by the most
scrupulous exactness, to content the public, and he was both astonished
and provoked to perceive that his impartiality was impeached. So
differently do people judge in different situations! He was the first
person to accuse his master of injustice, and the least capable of
bearing such an imputation upon himself from others. He now experienced
some of the joys of power, and the delight of managing unreasonable
"Have not I done everything I could to please you? Have not I spent my
money to buy you food? Have not I divided the last morsel with you? I
have not tasted one mouthful today! Did not I set to work for you at
sunrise? Did not I lie awake all night for you? Have not I had all the
labour, and all the anxiety? Look round and see MY contrivances, MY
work, MY generosity! And, after all, you think me a tyrant, because I
want you to have common sense. Is not this bun which I hold in my hand
my own? Did not I earn it by my own ingenuity from that selfish dunce"
(pointing to Fisher), "who could never have gotten one of his twelve
buns, if I had not shown him how? Eleven of them he has eaten since
morning for his own share, without offering anyone a morsel; but I scorn
to eat even what is justly my own, when I see so many hungry creatures
longing for it. I was not going to touch this last morsel myself. I
only begged you to keep it till supper-time, when perhaps you'll want it
more, and Townsend, who can't bear the slightest thing that crosses his
own whims, and who thinks there's nothing in this world to be minded but
his own diversion, calls me a TYRANT. You all of you promised to obey
me. The first thing I ask you to do for your own good, and when, if you
had common sense, you must know I can want nothing but your good, you
rebel against me. Traitors! fools! ungrateful fools!"
Archer walked up and down, unable to command his emotion, whilst, for the
moment, the discontented multitude was silenced.
"Here," said he, striking his hand upon the little boy's shoulder,
"here's the only one amongst you who has not uttered one word of reproach
or complaint, and he has had but one bit of bread--a bit that I gave him
myself this day. Here!" said he, snatching the bun, which nobody had
dared to touch, "take it--it's mine--I give it to you, though you are a
Greybeard; you deserve it. Eat it, and be an Archer. You shall be my
captain; will you?" said he, lifting him up in his arm above the rest.
"I like you now," said the little boy, courageously; "but I love De Grey
better; he has always been my friend, and he advised me never to call
myself any of those names, Archer or Greybeard; so I won't. Though I am
shut in here, I have nothing to do with it. I love Dr. Middleton; he
was never unjust to ME, and I daresay that he has very good reasons, as
De Grey said, for forbidding us to go into that house. Besides, it's his
Instead of admiring the good sense and steadiness of this little lad,
Archer suffered Townsend to snatch the untasted bun out of his hands. He
flung it at a hole in the window, but it fell back. The Archers
scrambled for it, and Fisher ate it.
Archer saw this, and was sensible that he had not done handsomely in
suffering it. A few moments ago he had admired his own generosity, and
though he had felt the injustice of others, he had not accused himself of
any. He turned away from the little boy, and sitting down at one end of
the table, hid his face in his hands. He continued immovable in this
posture for some time.
"Lord!" said Townsend; "it was an excellent joke!"
"Pooh!" said Fisher; "what a fool, to think so much about a bun!"
"Never mind, Mr. Archer, if you are thinking about me," said the little
boy, trying gently to pull his hands from his face.
Archer stooped down, and lifted him up upon the table, at which sight the
partisans set up a general hiss. "He has forsaken us! He deserts his
party! He wants to be a Greybeard! After he has got us all into this
scrape, he will leave us!"
"I am not going to leave you," cried Archer. "No one shall ever accuse
me of deserting my party. I'll stick by the Archers, right or wrong, I
tell you, to the last moment. But this little fellow--take it as you
please, mutiny if you will, and throw me out of the window. Call me
traitor! coward! Greybeard!--this little fellow is worth you all put
together, and I'll stand by him against anyone who dares to lay a finger
upon him; and the next morsel of food that I see shall be his. Touch him
The commanding air with which Archer spoke and looked, and the belief
that the little boy deserved his protection, silenced the crowd. But the
storm was only hushed.
No sound of merriment was now to be heard--no battledore and shuttlecock-
-no ball, no marbles. Some sat in a corner, whispering their wishes that
Archer would unbar the doors, and give up. Others, stretching their
arms, and gaping as they sauntered up and down the room, wished for air,
or food, or water. Fisher and his nine, who had such firm dependence
upon the gipsy, now gave themselves up to utter despair. It was eight
o'clock, growing darker and darker every minute, and no candles, no light
could they have. The prospect of another long dark night made them still
Townsend, at the head of the yawners, and Fisher, at the head of the
hungry malcontents, gathered round Archer and the few yet unconquered
spirits, demanding "How long he meant to keep them in this dark dungeon?
and whether he expected that they should starve themselves for his sake?"
The idea of GIVING UP was more intolerable to Archer than all the rest.
He saw that the majority, his own convincing argument, was against him.
He was therefore obliged to condescend to the arts of persuasion. He
flattered some with hopes of food from the town boys. Some he reminded
of their promises; others he praised for former prowess; and others he
shamed by the repetition of their high vaunts in the beginning of the
It was at length resolved that at all events they WOULD HOLD OUT. With
this determination they stretched themselves again to sleep, for the
second night, in weak and weary obstinacy.
Archer slept longer and more soundly than usual the next morning, and
when he awoke, he found his hands tied behind him! Three or four boys
had just got hold of his feet, which they pressed down, whilst the
trembling hands of Fisher were fastening the cord round them.
With all the force which rage could inspire, Archer struggled and roared
to "HIS ARCHERS!"--his friends, his party--for help against the traitors.
But all kept aloof. Townsend, in particular, stood laughing and looking
on. "I beg your pardon, Archer, but really you look so droll. All alive
and kicking! Don't be angry. I'm so weak, I cannot help laughing
The packthread cracked. "His hands are free! He's loose!" cried the
least of the boys, and ran away, whilst Archer leaped up, and seizing
hold of Fisher with a powerful grasp, sternly demanded "What he meant by
"Ask my party," said Fisher, terrified; "they set me on; ask my party."
"Your party!" cried Archer, with a look of ineffable contempt; "you
reptile!--YOUR party? Can such a thing as YOU have a party?"
"To be sure!" said Fisher, settling his collar, which Archer in his
surprise had let go; "to be sure! Why not? Any man who chooses it may
have a party as well as yourself, I suppose. I have nine Fishermen."
At these words, spoken with much sullen importance, Archer, in spite of
his vexation, could not help laughing. "Fishermen!" cried he,
"And why not Fishermen as well as Archers?" cried they. "One party is
just as good as another; it is only a question which can get the upper
hand; and we had your hands tied just now."
"That's right, Townsend," said Archer, "laugh on, my boy! Friend or foe,
it's all the same to you. I know how to value your friendship now. You
are a mighty good fellow when the sun shines; but let a storm come, and
how you slink away!"
At this instant, Archer felt the difference between A GOOD COMPANION and
a good friend, a difference which some people do not discover till late
"Have I no friend?--no real friend amongst you all? And could ye stand
by, and see my hands tied behind me like a thief's? What signifies such
a party--all mute?"
"We want something to eat," answered the Fishermen. "What signifies SUCH
a party, indeed? and SUCH a manager, who can do nothing for one?"
"And have _I_ done nothing?"
"Don't let's hear any more prosing," said Fisher; "we are too many for
you. I've advised my party, if they've a mind not to be starved, to give
you up for the ringleader, as you were; and Dr. Middleton will not let us
all off, I daresay." So, depending upon the sullen silence of the
assembly, he again approached Archer with a cord. A cry of "No, no, no!
Don't tie him," was feebly raised.
Archer stood still, but the moment Fisher touched him he knocked him down
to the ground, and turning to the rest, with eyes sparkling with
indignation, "Archers!" cried he. A voice at this instant was heard at
the door. It was De Grey's voice. "I have got a large basket of
provisions for your breakfast." A general shout of joy was sent forth by
the voracious public. "Breakfast! Provisions! A large basket! De Grey
for ever! Huzza!"
De Grey promised, upon his honour, that if he would unbar the door nobody
should come in with him, and no advantage should be taken of them. This
promise was enough even for Archer. "I will let him in," said he,
"myself; for I'm sure he'll never break his word." He pulled away the
bar; the door opened, and having bargained for the liberty of Melson, the
little boy, who had been shut in by mistake, De Grey entered with his
basket of provisions, when he locked and barred the door instantly.
Joy and gratitude sparkled in every face when he unpacked his basket, and
spread the table with a plentiful breakfast. A hundred questions were
asked him at once. "Eat first," said he, "and we will talk afterwards."
This business was quickly despatched by those who had not tasted food for
a long while. Their curiosity increased as their hunger diminished.
"Who sent us breakfast? Does Dr. Middleton know?" were questions
reiterated from every mouth.
"He does know," answered De Grey; "and the first thing I have to tell you
is, that I am your fellow-prisoner. I am to stay here till you give up.
This was the only condition on which Dr. Middleton would allow me to
bring you food, and he will allow no more."
Everyone looked at the empty basket. But Archer, in whom half vanquished
party spirit revived with the strength he had got from his breakfast,
broke into exclamations in praise of De Grey's magnanimity, as he now
imagined that De Grey had become one of themselves.
"And you will join us, will you? That's a noble fellow!"
"No," answered De Grey, calmly; "but I hope to persuade, or rather to
convince you, that you ought to join me."
"You would have found it no hard task to have persuaded or convinced us,
whichever you pleased," said Townsend, "if you had appealed to Archers
fasting; but Archers feasting are quite other animals. Even Caesar
himself, after breakfast, is quite another thing!" added he, pointing to
"You may speak for yourself, Mr. Townsend," replied the insulted hero,
"but not for me, or for Archers in general, if you please. We unbarred
the door upon the faith of De Grey's promise--THAT was not giving up.
And it would have been just as difficult, I promise you, to persuade or
convince me either that I should give up against my honour before
breakfast as after."
This spirited speech was applauded by many, who had now forgotten the
feelings of famine. Not so Fisher, whose memory was upon this occasion
"What nonsense," and the orator paused for a synonymous expression, but
none was at hand. "What nonsense and--nonsense is here! Why, don't you
remember that dinner-time, and supper-time and breakfast-time will come
again? So what signifies mouthing about persuading and convincing? We
will not go through again what we did yesterday! Honour me no honour. I
don't understand it. I'd rather be flogged at once, as I have been
many's the good time for a less thing. I say, we'd better all be flogged
at once, which must be the end of it sooner or later, than wait here to
be without dinner, breakfast, and supper, all only because Mr. Archer
won't give up because of his honour and nonsense!"
Many prudent faces amongst the Fishermen seemed to deliberate at the
close of this oration, in which the arguments were brought so "home to
each man's business and bosom."
"But," said De Grey, "when we yield, I hope it will not be merely to get
our dinner, gentlemen. When we yield, Archer--"
"Don't address yourself to me," interrupted Archer, struggling with his
pride; "you have no further occasion to try to win me. I have no power,
no party, you see! And now I find that I have no friends, I don't care
what becomes of myself. I suppose I'm to be given up as a ringleader.
Here's this Fisher, and a party of his Fishermen, were going to tie me
hand and foot, if I had not knocked him down, just as you came to the
door, De Grey; and now perhaps you will join Fisher's party against me."
De Grey was going to assure him that he had no intention of joining any
party, when a sudden change appeared on Archer's countenance. "Silence!"
cried Archer, in an imperious tone, and there was silence. Someone was
heard to whistle the beginning of a tune, that was perfectly new to
everybody present, except to Archer, who immediately whistled the
conclusion. "There!" cried he, looking at De Grey, with triumph; "that's
a method of holding secret correspondence whilst a prisoner, which I
learned from 'Richard Coeur de Lion.' I know how to make use of
everything. Hallo! friend! are you there at last?" cried he, going to
"Yes, but we are barred out here."
"Round to the window then, and fill our bag. We'll let it down, my lad,
in a trice; bar me out who can!"
Archer let down the bag with all the expedition of joy, and it was filled
with all the expedition of fear. "Pull away! make haste, for Heaven's
sake!" said the voice from without; "the gardener will come from dinner,
else, and we shall be caught. He mounted guard all yesterday at the
ventilator; and though I watched and watched till it was darker than
pitch, I could not get near you. I don't know what has taken him out of
the way now. Make haste, pull away!" The heavy bag was soon pulled up.
"Have you any more?" said Archer.
"Yes, plenty. Let down quick! I've got the tailor's bag full, which is
three times as large as yours, and I've changed clothes with the tailor's
boy; so nobody took notice of me as I came down the street."
"There's my own cousin!" exclaimed Archer, "there's a noble fellow!
there's my own cousin, I acknowledge. Fill the bag, then." Several
times the bag descended and ascended; and at every unlading of the crane,
fresh acclamations were heard.
"I have no more!" at length the boy with the tailor's bag cried.
"Off with you, then; we've enough, and thank you."
A delightful review was now made of their treasure. Busy hands arranged
and sorted the heterogeneous mass. Archer, in the height of his glory,
looked on, the acknowledged master of the whole. Townsend, who, in his
prosperity as in adversity, saw and enjoyed the comic foibles of his
friends, pushed De Grey, who was looking on with a more good-natured and
more thoughtful air. "Friend," said he, "you look like a great
philosopher, and Archer a great hero."
"And you, Townsend," said Archer, "may look like a wit, if you will; but
you will never be a hero."
"No, no," replied Townsend; "wits were never heroes, because they are
wits. You are out of your wits, and therefore may set up for a hero."
"Laugh, and welcome. I'm not a tyrant. I don't want to restrain
anybody's wit; but I cannot say I admire puns."
"Nor I, either," said the time serving Fisher, sidling up to the manager,
and picking the ice off a piece of plum-cake, "nor I either; I hate puns.
I can never understand Townsend's PUNS. Besides, anybody can make puns;
and one doesn't want wit, either, at all times; for instance, when one is
going to settle about dinner, or business of consequence. Bless us all,
Archer!" continued he, with sudden familiarity; "WHAT A SIGHT OF GOOD
THINGS ARE HERE! I'm sure we are much obliged to you and your cousin. I
never thought he'd have come. Why, now we can hold out as long as you
please. Let us see," said he, dividing the provisions upon the table;
"we can hold out to-day, and all to-morrow, and part of next day, maybe.
Why, now we may defy the doctor and the Greybeards. The doctor will
surely give up to us; for, you see, he knows nothing of all this, and
he'll think we are starving all this while; and he'd be afraid, you see,
to let us starve quite, in reality, for three whole days, because of what
would be said in the town. My Aunt Barbara, for one, would be AT HIM
long before that time was out; and besides, you know, in that case, he'd
be hanged for murder, which is quite another thing, in law, from a
BARRING OUT, you know."
Archer had not given to this harangue all the attention which it
deserved, for his eye was fixed upon De Grey. "What is De Grey thinking
of?" he asked, impatiently.
"I am thinking," said De Grey, "that Dr. Middleton must believe that I
have betrayed his confidence in me. The gardener was ordered away from
his watch-post for one half-hour when I was admitted. This half-hour the
gardener has made nearly a hour. I never would have come near you if I
had foreseen all this. Dr. Middleton trusted me, and now he will repent
of his confidence in me."
"De Grey!" cried Archer, with energy, "he shall not repent of his
confidence in you--nor shall you repent of coming amongst us. You shall
find that we have some honour as well as yourself, and I will take care
of your honour as if it were my OWN!"
"Hey-day!" interrupted Townsend; "are heroes allowed to change sides,
pray? And does the chief of the Archers stand talking sentiment to the
chief of the Greybeards? In the middle of his own party too!"
"Party!" repeated Archer, disdainfully; "I have done with parties! I see
what parties are made of! I have felt the want of a friend, and I am
determined to make one if I can."
"That you may do," said De Grey, stretching out his hand.
"Unbar the doors! unbar the windows!" exclaimed Archer. "Away with all
these things! I give up for De Grey's sake. He shall not lose his
credit on my account."
"No," said De Grey, "you shall not give up for my sake."
"Well, then, I'll give up to do what is HONOURABLE," said Archer.
"Why not to do what is REASONABLE?" said De Grey.
"REASONABLE! Oh, the first thing that a man of spirit should think of
is, what is HONOURABLE."
"But how will he find out WHAT IS honourable, unless he can reason?"
replied De Grey.
"Oh," said Archer, "his own feelings always tell him what is honourable."
"Have not YOUR FEELINGS," asked De Grey, "changed within these few
"Yes, with circumstances," replied Archer; "but right or wrong, as long
as I think it honourable to do so and so, I'm satisfied."
"But you cannot think anything honourable, or the contrary," observed De
Grey, "without reasoning; and as to what you call feeling, it's only a
quick sort of reasoning."
"The quicker, the better," said Archer.
"Perhaps not," said De Grey. "We are apt to reason best when we are not
in quite so great a hurry."
"But," said Archer, "we have not always time enough to reason AT FIRST."
"You must, however, acknowledge," replied De Grey, smiling, "that no man
but a fool thinks it honourable to be in the wrong AT LAST. Is it not,
therefore, best to begin by reasoning to find out the right AT FIRST?"
"To be sure," said Archer.
"And did you reason with yourself at first? And did you find out that it
was right to bar Dr. Middleton out of his own schoolroom, because he
desired you not to go into one of his own houses?"
"No," replied Archer; "but I should never have thought of heading a
Barring Out, if he had not shown partiality; and if you had flown into a
passion with me openly at once for pulling down your scenery, which would
have been quite natural, and not have gone slily and forbid us the house
out of revenge, there would have been none of this work."
"Why," said De Grey, "should you suspect me of such a mean action, when
you have never seen or known me do anything mean, and when in this
instance you have no proofs?"
"Will you give me your word and honour now, De Grey, before everybody
here, that you did not do what I suspected?"
"I do assure you, upon my honour, I never, indirectly, spoke to Dr.
Middleton about the playhouse."
"Then," said Archer, "I'm as glad as if I had found a thousand pounds!
Now you are my friend indeed."
"And Dr. Middleton--why should you suspect him without reason any more
"As to that," said Archer, "he is your friend, and you are right to
defend him; and I won't say another word against him. Will that satisfy
"Not quite! Then, indeed you are unreasonable!"
"No," replied De Grey; "for I don't wish you to yield out of friendship
to me, any more than to honour. If you yield to reason, you will be
governed by reason another time."
"Well; but then don't triumph over me, because you have the best side of
"Not I! How can I?" said De Grey; "for now you are on THE BEST SIDE as
well as myself, are not you? So we may triumph together."
"You are a good friend!" said Archer; and with great eagerness he pulled
down the fortifications, whilst every hand assisted. The room was
restored to order in a few minutes--the shutters were thrown open, the
cheerful light let in. The windows were thrown up, and the first feeling
of the fresh air was delightful. The green playgound opened before them,
and the hopes of exercise and liberty brightened the countenances of
these voluntary prisoners.
But, alas! they were not yet at liberty. The idea of Dr. Middleton, and
the dread of his vengeance, smote their hearts. When the rebels had sent
an ambassador with their surrender, they stood in pale and silent
suspense, waiting for their doom.
"Ah!" said Fisher, looking up at the broken panes in the windows, "the
doctor will think the most of THAT--he'll never forgive us for that."
"Hush! here he comes!" His steady step was heard approaching nearer and
nearer. Archer threw open the door, and Dr. Middleton entered. Fisher
instantly fell on his knees.
"It is no delight to me to see people on their knees. Stand up, Mr.
Fisher. I hope you are all conscious that you have done wrong?"
"Sir," said Archer, "they are conscious that they have done wrong, and so
am I. I am the ringleader. Punish me as you think proper. I submit.
Your punishments--your vengeance ought to fall on me alone!"
"Sir," said Dr. Middleton, calmly, "I perceive that whatever else you may
have learned in the course of your education, you have not been taught
the meaning of the word punishment. Punishment and vengeance do not with
us mean the same thing. PUNISHMENT is pain given, with the reasonable
hope of preventing those on whom it is inflicted from doing, IN FUTURE,
what will hurt themselves or others. VENGEANCE never looks to the
FUTURE, but is the expression of anger for an injury that is past. I
feel no anger; you have done me no injury."
Here many of the little boys looked timidly up to the windows. "Yes, I
see that you have broken my windows; that is a small evil."
"Oh, sir! How good! How merciful!" exclaimed those who had been most
panic-struck. "He forgives us!"
"Stay," resumed Dr. Middleton; "I cannot forgive you. I shall never
revenge, but it is my duty to punish. You have rebelled against the just
authority which is necessary to conduct and govern you whilst you have
not sufficient reason to govern and conduct yourselves. Without
obedience to the laws," added he, turning to Archer, "as men, you cannot
be suffered in society. You, sir, think yourself a man, I observe; and
you think it the part of a man not to submit to the will of another. I
have no pleasure in making others, whether men or children, submit to my
WILL; but my reason and experience are superior to yours. Your parents
at least think so, or they would not have intrusted me with the care of
your education. As long as they do intrust you to my care, and as long
as I have any hopes of making you wiser and better by punishment, I shall
steadily inflict it, whenever I judge it to be necessary, and I judge it
to be necessary NOW. This is a long sermon, Mr. Archer, not preached to
show my own eloquence, but to convince your understanding. Now, as to
"Name it, sir," said Archer; "whatever it is, I will cheerfully submit
"Name it yourself," said Dr. Middleton, "and show me that you now
understand the nature of punishment."
Archer, proud to be treated like a reasonable creature, and sorry that he
had behaved like a foolish schoolboy, was silent for some time, but at
length replied, "That he would rather not name his own punishment." He
repeated, however, that he trusted he should bear it well, whatever it
"I shall, then," said Dr. Middleton, "deprive you, for two months, of
pocket-money, as you have had too much, and have made a bad use of it."
"Sir," said Archer, "I brought five guineas with me to school. This
guinea is all that I have left."
Dr. Middleton received the guinea which Archer offered him with a look of
approbation, and told him that it should be applied to the repairs of the
schoolroom. The rest of the boys waited in silence for the doctor's
sentence against them, but not with those looks of abject fear with which
boys usually expect the sentence of a schoolmaster.
"You shall return from the playground, all of you," said Dr. Middleton,
"one quarter of an hour sooner, for two months to come, than the rest of
your companions. A bell shall ring at the appointed time. I give you an
opportunity of recovering my confidence by your punctuality."
"Oh, sir! we will come the instant, the very instant the bell rings; you
shall have confidence in us," cried they, eagerly.
"I deserve your confidence, I hope," said Dr. Middleton; "for it is my
first wish to make you all happy. You do not know the pain that it has
cost me to deprive you of food for so many hours."
Here the boys, with one accord, ran to the place where they had deposited
their last supplies. Archer delivered them up to the doctor, proud to
show that they were not reduced to obedience merely by necessity.
"The reason," resumed Dr. Middleton, having now returned to the usual
benignity of his manner--"the reason why I desired that none of you
should go to that building," pointing out of the window, "was this:--I
had been informed that a gang of gipsies had slept there the night before
I spoke to you, one of whom was dangerously ill of a putrid fever. I did
not choose to mention my reason to you or your friends. I have had the
place cleaned, and you may return to it when you please. The gipsies
were yesterday removed from the town."
"De Grey, you were in the right," whispered Archer, "and it was I that
"The old woman," continued the doctor, "whom you employed to buy food,
has escaped the fever, but she has not escaped a gaol, whither she was
sent yesterday, for having defrauded you of your money.
"Mr. Fisher," said Dr. Middleton, "as to you, I shall not punish you; I
have no hope of making you either wiser or better. Do you know this
paper?"--the paper appeared to be a bill for candles and a tinder-box.
"I desired him to buy those things, sir," said Archer, colouring.
"And did you desire him not to pay for them?"
"No," said Archer, "he had half a crown on purpose to pay for them."
"I know he had, but he chose to apply it to his private use, and gave it
to the gipsy to buy twelve buns for his own eating. To obtain credit for
the tinder-box and candles, he made use of THIS name," said he, turning
to the other side of the bill, and pointing to De Grey's name, which was
written at the end of a copy of one of De Grey's exercises.
"I assure you, sir--" cried Archer.
"You need not assure me, sir," said Dr. Middleton; "I cannot suspect a
boy of your temper of having any part in so base an action. When the
people in the shop refused to let Mr. Fisher have the things without
paying for them, he made use of De Grey's name, who was known there.
Suspecting some mischief, however, from the purchase of the tinder-box,
the shopkeeper informed me of the circumstance. Nothing in this whole
business gave me half so much pain as I felt, for a moment, when I
suspected that De Grey was concerned in it." A loud cry, in which
Archer's voice was heard most distinctly, declared De Grey's innocence.
Dr. Middleton looked round at their eager, honest faces, with benevolent
approbation. "Archer," said he, taking him by the hand, "I am heartily
glad to see that you have got the better of your party spirit. I wish
you may keep such a friend as you have now beside you; one such friend is
worth two such parties. As for you, Mr. Fisher, depart; you must never
return hither again." In vain he solicited Archer and De Grey to
intercede for him. Everybody turned away with contempt; and he sneaked
out, whimpering in a doleful voice, "What shall I say to my Aunt
In a beautiful and retired part of England lived Mrs. Villars, a lady
whose accurate understanding, benevolent heart, and steady temper
peculiarly fitted her for the most difficult, as well as most important,
of all occupations--the education of youth. This task she had
undertaken; and twenty young persons were put under her care, with the
perfect confidence of their parents. No young people could be happier;
they were good and gay, emulous, but not envious of each other; for Mrs.
Villars was impartially just; her praise they felt to be the reward of
merit, and her blame they knew to be the necessary consequence of ill-
conduct. To the one, therefore, they patiently submitted, and in the
other consciously rejoiced. They rose with fresh cheerfulness in the
morning, eager to pursue their various occupations. They returned in the
evening with renewed ardour to their amusements, and retired to rest
satisfied with themselves and pleased with each other.
Nothing so much contributed to preserve a spirit of emulation in this
little society as a small honorary distinction, given annually, as a
prize of successful application. The prize this year was peculiarly dear
to each individual, as it was the picture of a friend whom they dearly
loved. It was the picture of Mrs. Villars in a small bracelet. It
wanted neither gold, pearls nor precious stones to give it value.
The two foremost candidates for this prize were Cecilia and Leonora.
Cecilia was the most intimate friend of Leonora; but Leonora was only the
favourite companion of Cecilia.
Cecilia was of an active, ambitious, enterprising disposition, more eager
in the pursuit than happy in the enjoyment of her wishes. Leonora was of
a contented, unaspiring temperate character; not easily roused to action,
but indefatigable when once excited. Leonora was proud; Cecilia was
vain. Her vanity made her more dependent upon the approbation of others,
and therefore more anxious to please than Leonora; but that very vanity
made her, at the same time, more apt to offend. In short, Leonora was
the most anxious to avoid what was wrong; Cecilia, the most ambitious to
do what was right. Few of her companions loved, but many were led by
Cecilia, for she was often successful. Many loved Leonora, but none were
ever governed by her, for she was too indolent to govern.
On the first day of May, about six o'clock in the evening, a great bell
rang, to summon this little society into a hall, where the prize was to
be decided. A number of small tables were placed in a circle in the
middle of the hall. Seats for the young competitors were raised one
above another, in a semicircle, some yards distant from the table, and
the judges' chairs, under canopies of lilacs and laburnums, forming
another semicircle, closed the amphitheatre.
Everyone put their writings, their drawings, their works of various kinds
upon the tables appropriated for each. How unsteady were the last steps
to these tables! How each little hand trembled as it laid down its
claims! Till this moment everyone thought herself secure of success; and
the heart, which exulted with hope, now palpitated with fear.
The works were examined, the preference adjudged, and the prize was
declared to be the happy Cecilia's. Mrs. Villars came forward, smiling,
with the bracelet in her hand. Cecilia was behind her companions, on the
highest row. All the others gave way, and she was on the floor in an
instant. Mrs. Villars clasped the bracelet on her arm; the clasp was
heard through the whole hall, and a universal smile of congratulation
followed. Mrs. Villars kissed Cecilia's little hand. "And now," said
she, "go and rejoice with your companions; the remainder of the day is
Oh! you whose hearts are elated with success, whose bosoms beat high with
joy in the moment of triumph, command yourselves. Let that triumph be
moderate, that it may be lasting. Consider, that though you are good,
you may be better; and, though wise, you may be weak.
As soon as Mrs. Villars had given her the bracelet, all Cecilia's little
companions crowded round her, and they all left the hall in an instant.
She was full of spirits and vanity. She ran on. Running down the flight
of steps which led to the garden, in her violent haste, Cecilia threw
down the little Louisa, who had a china mandarin in her hand, which her
mother had sent her that very morning, and which was all broken to pieces
by her fall.
"Oh, my mandarin!" cried Louisa, bursting into tears. The crowd behind
Cecilia suddenly stopped. Louisa sat on the lowest step, fixing her eyes
upon the broken pieces. Then, turning round, she hid her face in her
hands upon the step above her. In turning, Louisa threw down the remains
of the mandarin. The head, which she placed in the socket, fell from the
shoulders, and rolled, bounding along the gravel walk. Cecilia pointed
to the head and to the socket, and burst into laughter. The crowd behind
At any other time they would have been more inclined to cry with Louisa;
but Cecilia had just been successful, and sympathy with the victorious
often makes us forget justice.
Leonora, however, preserved her usual consistency. "Poor Louisa!" said
she, looking first at her, and then reproachfully at Cecilia. Cecilia
turned sharply round, colouring, half with shame and half with vexation.
"I could not help it, Leonora," said she.
"But you could have helped laughing, Cecilia."
"I didn't laugh at Louisa; and I surely may laugh, for it does nobody any
"I am sure, however," replied Leonora, "I should not have laughed if I
"No, to be sure, you wouldn't, because Louisa is your favourite. I can
buy her another mandarin when the old peddler comes to the door, if
that's all. I CAN do no more, CAN I?" said she, again turning round to
her companions. "No, to be sure," said they; "that's all fair."
Cecilia looked triumphantly at Leonora. Leonora let go her hand; she ran
on, and the crowd followed. When she got to the end of the garden, she
turned round to see if Leonora had followed her, too; but was vexed to
see her still sitting on the steps with Louisa. "I'm sure I can do no
more than buy her another, CAN I!" said she, again appealing to her
companions. "No, to be sure," said they, eager to begin their play.
How many games did these juvenile playmates begin and leave off, before
Cecilia could be satisfied with any! Her thoughts were discomposed, and
her mind was running upon something else. No wonder, then, that she did
not play with her usual address. She grew still more impatient. She
threw down the ninepins. "Come, let us play at something else--at
threading the needle," said she, holding out her hand. They all yielded
to the hand which wore the bracelet. But Cecilia, dissatisfied with
herself, was discontented with everybody else. Her tone grew more and
more peremptory. One was too rude, another too stiff; one too slow,
another too quick; in short everything went wrong, and everybody was
tired of her humours.
The triumph of SUCCESS is absolute, but short. Cecilia's companions at
length recollected that though she had embroidered a tulip, and painted a
peach, better than they, yet that they could play as well, and keep their
tempers better; for she was discomposed.
Walking towards the house in a peevish mood, Cecilia met Leonora, but
passed on. "Cecilia!" cried Leonora.
"Well, what do you want with me?"
"Are we friends?"
"You know best," said Cecilia.
"We are, if you will let me tell Louisa that you are sorry--"
Cecilia, interrupting her, "Oh, pray let me hear no more about Louisa!"
"What! not confess that you were in the wrong? Oh, Cecilia! I had a
better opinion of you."
"Your opinion is of no consequence to me now, for you don't love me."
"No; not when you are unjust, Cecilia."
"Unjust! I am not unjust; and if I were, you are not my governess."
"No, but am not I your friend?"
"I don't desire to have such a friend, who would quarrel with me for
happening to throw down little Louisa. How could I tell that she had a
mandarin in her hand? and when it was broken, could I do more than
promise her another; was that unjust?"
"But you know, Cecilia--"
"I KNOW," ironically. "I know, Leonora, that you love Louisa better than
you love me; that's the injustice!"
"If I did," replied Leonora, gravely, "it would be no injustice, if she
deserved it better."
"How can you compare Louisa to me!" exclaimed Cecilia, indignantly.
Leonora made no answer; for she was really hurt at her friend's conduct.
She walked on to join the rest of her companions. They were dancing in a
round upon the grass. Leonora declined dancing; but they prevailed upon
her to sing for them. Her voice was not so sprightly, but it was sweeter
than usual. Who sang so sweetly as Leonora? or who danced so nimbly as
Louisa? Away she was flying, all spirits and gaiety, when Leonora's eyes
full of tears, caught hers. Louisa silently let go her companion's hand,
and, quitting the dance, ran up to Leonora to inquire what was the matter
with her. "Nothing," replied she, "that need interrupt you. Go, my
dear; go and dance again."
Louisa immediately ran away to her garden, and pulling off her little
straw hat, she lined it with the freshest strawberry-leaves, and was upon
her knees before the strawberry-bed when Cecilia came by. Cecilia was
not disposed to be pleased with Louisa at that instant, for two reasons;
because she was jealous of her, and because she had injured her. The
injury, however, Louisa had already forgotten. Perhaps to tell things
just as they were, she was not quite so much inclined to kiss Cecilia as
she would have been before the fall of her mandarin; but this was the
utmost extent of her malice, if it can be called malice.
"What are you doing there, little one?" said Cecilia, in a sharp tone.
"Are you eating your early strawberries here all alone?"
"No," said Louisa, mysteriously, "I am not eating them."
"What are you doing with them? can't you answer, then? I'm not playing
with you, child!"
"Oh, as to that, Cecilia, you know I need not answer you unless I choose
it; not but what I would if you would only ask me civilly, and if you
would not call me CHILD."
"Why should not I call you child?"
"Because--because--I don't know; but I wish you would stand out of my
light, Cecilia, for you are trampling upon all my strawberries."
"I have not touched one, you covetous little creature!"
"Indeed--indeed, Cecilia, I am not covetous. I have not eaten one of
them; they are all for your friend Leonora. See how unjust you are!"
"Unjust! that's a cant word which you learnt of my friend Leonora, as you
call her; but she is not my friend now."
"Not your friend now!" exclaimed Louisa; "then I am sure you must have
done something VERY naughty."
"How?" cried Cecilia, catching hold of her.
"Let me go, let me go!" cried Louisa, struggling. "I won't give you one
of my strawberries, for I don't like you at all!"
"You don't, don't you?" cried Cecilia, provoked, and, catching the hat
from Louisa, she flung the strawberries over the hedge.
"Will nobody help me?" exclaimed Louisa, snatching her hat again, and
running away with all her force.
"What have I done?" said Cecilia, recollecting herself; "Louisa! Louisa!"
she called very loud, but Louisa would not turn back; she was running to
her companions, who were still dancing, hand in hand, upon the grass,
whilst Leonora, sitting in the middle, was singing to them.
"Stop! stop! and hear me!" cried Louisa, breaking through them; and,
rushing up to Leonora, she threw her hat at her feet, and panting for
breath--"It was full--almost full of my own strawberries," said she, "the
first I ever got out of my garden. They should all have been for you,
Leonora; but now I have not one left. They are all gone!" said she; and
she hid her face in Leonora's lap.
"Gone! gone where?" said everyone, at once running up to her.
"Cecilia! Cecilia!" said she, sobbing.
"Cecilia," repeated Leonora, "what of Cecilia?"
"Yes, it was--it was."
"Come with me," said Leonora, unwilling to have her friend exposed.
"Come, and I will get you some more strawberries."
"Oh, I don't mind the strawberries, indeed; but I wanted to have had the
pleasure of giving them to you."
Leonora took her up in her arms to carry her away, but it was too late.
"What, Cecilia! Cecilia, who won the prize! It could not surely be
Cecilia," whispered every busy tongue.
At this instant the bell summoned them in. "There she is! There she
is!" cried they, pointing to an arbour, where Cecilia was standing
ashamed and alone; and, as they passed her, some lifted up their hands
and eyes with astonishment, others whispered and huddled mysteriously
together, as if to avoid her. Leonora walked on, her head a little
higher than usual.
"Leonora!" said Cecilia, timorously, as she passed.
"Oh, Cecilia! who would have thought that you had a bad heart?" Cecilia
turned her head aside and burst into tears.
"Oh, no, indeed, she has not a bad heart!" cried Louisa, running up to
her and throwing her arms around her neck. "She's very sorry; are not
you, Cecilia? But don't cry any more, for I forgive you, with all my
heart--and I love you now, though I said I did not when I was in a
"Oh, you sweet-tempered girl! how I love you!" said Cecilia, kissing her.
"Well, then, if you do, come along with me, and dry your eyes, for they
are so red!"
"Go, my dear, and I'll come presently."
"Then I will keep a place for you, next to me; but you must make haste,
or you will have to come in when we have all sat down to supper, and then
you will be so stared at! So don't stay, now."