WITH WOLFE IN CANADA
Or The Winning of a Continent

BY G. A. HENTY [1894]

Look up difficult words at The Free Dictionary.  You may want to keep it open in another window/tab.

Chapter 2
The Showman’s Grandchild

Vocabulary:  acknowledge, anxiety, apologetically, astonishment, earnestness, elapse, induce, influence, inquiries, mysterious, particular, preferring, preposterous, proposition, wrench

1. Three months later the showman again appeared at Sidmouth, but did not set up his box as usual. Leaving it at his lodging, he went at once with his grandchild to Mrs. Walsham's.

2. "I have come, madam," he said after the first inquiries about the child had been answered, "on a particular business. It will seem a strange thing to you for a man like me to ask, but things are not quite as they seem, though I can't explain it now. But I am beating about the bush, and not getting any nearer. I have come to ask, madam, whether you would take charge of the child for two years. Of course I am ready to
pay anything that you may think proper."

3. "But I don't take boarders," Mrs. Walsham said, much surprised at the proposition. "I only take girls who come in the morning and go away in the afternoon. Besides, they are all a good many years older than your grandchild. None of the girls who come to me are under twelve."

4. "I know, ma'm, I know; and I am sure you must think it a great liberty on my part to ask such a thing," the sergeant said apologetically. "It is not the teaching I want, but just a home for her."

5. Mrs. Walsham felt puzzled. She did, in her heart, feel it to be a liberty. Surely this wandering showman would find no difficulty in getting his grandchild taken care of among people of his own rank in life. It did seem most singular that he should seek to place the child with her. Mrs. Walsham was not given to thinking what her neighbours
would say, but she thought of the buzz of comment and astonishment which her taking the charge of this child would excite. She had been particular in keeping her little school to some extent select, and as it was now as large as she could manage unaided, she was able to make it almost a favour to the farmers' wives to take their girls.

6. But to do Mrs. Walsham justice, this thought had less influence with her than that of the time and care which would be required by a child of that age in the house. Certainly, she thought, as she looked at her, sitting with her eyes wide open and an expression of grave wonder in her face, "she is a little darling, and as Jim saved her life I have a
special interest in her; but this is out of the question."

7. It was two or three minutes before she answered the showman's last words.

8. "No, it cannot be done, Sergeant Wilks. No money that could be paid me would make up to me for the charge of a child of her age. I am all day in school, and what could a child, especially one accustomed to be out all day, do with herself? The worry and anxiety would be immense. Were it not for my school, it would be different altogether. A child of that age, especially such a sweet little thing as your granddaughter seems
to be, would be a pet and amusement; but as it is, I am sorry to say that it is out of the question. But surely you will have no difficulty in finding plenty of good women who would be glad to take her, and to whom, having children of the same age, she would be no trouble whatever."

9. "Yes," the sergeant said slowly, "I was afraid you would say that, ma'm. Besides, though you are good enough not to say it, I know that there must be other objections. I know you must be surprised at my wanting her to be with a lady like yourself. So far as money goes, I could afford to pay fifty pounds a year, and perhaps you might get a girl who could look after Aggie while you are busy."

10. "Fifty pounds a year!" Mrs. Walsham said, greatly surprised. "That is a large sum, a great deal too large a sum for you to pay for the care of such a little child. For half that, there are scores of farmers' wives who would be happy to take her, and where she would be far more happy and comfortable than she would be with me."

11. "I know I could get plenty to take her," the soldier said, "but I have reasons, very particular reasons, why I wish to place her with a lady for two years. I cannot explain those reasons to you, but you may imagine they must be strong ones, for me to be willing to pay fifty pounds a year for her. That money has been laid by from the day she was born, for that purpose. I have other reasons, of my own, for wishing that she should be at Sidmouth rather than at any other place; and I have another reason," and a slight smile stole across his face, "for preferring that she should be with you rather than anyone else. All this must seem very strange to you, madam; but at the end of the two
years, when you know what my reasons were, you will acknowledge that they were good ones.

12. "God knows," he went on, looking very grave, "what a wrench it will be for me to part with her. How lonely I shall be, as I tramp the country without her pretty prattle to listen to; but I have got to do it sooner or later, and these two years, when I can see her sometimes, will be a break, and accustom me to do without her sweet face.

13. "Please, madam," he urged, "do not give me a final answer today. I shall not go till Monday, and will call again, if you will let me, that morning; and believe me, if I could tell you all, I could give you reasons which would, I think, induce you to change your mind."

So saying, he made a military salute, took the child's hand in his, and was soon striding along towards the sea.

14. Mrs. Walsham was some time before she recovered from her surprise. This was, indeed, a mysterious affair. The earnestness with which the old soldier pleaded his cause had moved her strongly, and had almost persuaded her to accept the proposal, which had at first seemed preposterous. Fifty pounds a year, too, was certainly a handsome sum.  She could get a girl from the village for two or three shillings a week
to look after the child, and go out with her during school hours, and a hundred pounds would be a very handsome addition to the sum which she had begun, little by little, to lay by for Jim's preparation for the medical profession.

15. In the five years which would elapse, before it would be time for him to enter upon his studies for it, she could hardly hope to lay by more than that sum, and this would at a stroke double it. Certainly it was a tempting offer. She could not do justice to the child, could not give her the care and attention which she ought to have, and which she could
have for such a sum elsewhere; but the sergeant knew exactly how she was placed, and if he was willing and anxious for her to assume the charge of the child, why should she refuse this good offer?

16. However, her pupils were waiting for her in the next room, and with an effort Mrs. Walsham put the matter aside, and went in to them.

1.    What was the showman’s request?  ___________________________________

2.    How did Mrs. Walsham respond at first?  _______________________________

3.    How much money did Sergeant Wilks offer?  ____________________________

4.    What would Mrs. Walsham use the money for?  __________________________

Vocabulary:  consenting, disadvantages, indignantly, jollier, meditated, naughty, nonsense, sacrifice, seriously, tremendous

17. When James returned home to dinner, his mother related to him the whole conversation. James was more amused than puzzled.

18. "It seems a rum idea, mother; but I don't see why you shouldn't take her. She is a sweet little thing, and will be a great amusement. Fifty pounds a year seems a tremendous sum for a man like that to pay; but I suppose he knows his own business, and it will be a great pull for you.  You will be able to have all sorts of comforts. I should like it very much. I have often wished I had had a little sister, and she can go out walks with me, you know. It would be like having a big dog with one, only much jollier."

19. "Yes," his mother said smiling; "and I shouldn't be surprised if you wanted to throw sticks into the water for her to fetch them out, and to be taking her out for a night's fishing, and be constantly bringing her home splashed with that nasty red mud from head to foot. You would be a nice playmate for a little girl, Jim. Perhaps it is that special
advantage that the sergeant had in his mind's eye, when he was so anxious to put her with me."

20. James laughed.

21. "I would see that she didn't come to any harm, anyhow, you know; and, after all, I suppose it was my picking her out of the sea that had something to do with his first thinking of putting her with you."

22. "I suppose it had, Jim," she said more seriously. "But what do you think, my boy? You know there are disadvantages in it. There will be a good deal of talk about my taking this showman's grandchild, and some of the farmers' wives won't like it."

23. "Then let them dislike it," James said indignantly. "The child is as good as their daughters, any day. Why, I noticed her in church looking like a little lady. There was not a child there to compare to her."

24. "Yes, I have noticed her myself," Mrs. Walsham said. "She is a singularly pretty and graceful child; but it will certainly cause remark."

25. "Well, mother, you can easily say, what is really the fact, that you naturally felt an interest in her because I picked her out of the water. Besides, if people make remarks they will soon be tired of that; and if not, I can get into some scrape or other and give them something else to talk about."

26. Accordingly, when Sergeant Wilks called on Monday morning for his answer, Mrs. Walsham told him that she had decided to accept his offer.

27. "You are aware how I am placed," she said, "and that I cannot give her the care and time which I could wish, and which she ought to have for such a liberal payment as you propose; but you know that beforehand, and you see that for two years' payments I could not sacrifice my school connection, which I should have to do if I gave her the time I should wish."

28. "I understand, madam," he said, "and I am grateful to you for consenting to take her. She is getting too old now to wander about with me, and since the narrow escape she had, last time I was here, I have felt anxious whenever she was out of my sight. It would not suit me to put her in a farm house. I want her to learn to speak nicely, and I have done my best to teach her; but if she went to a farm house she would be picking up all sorts of country words, and I want her to talk like a little lady.

29. "So that is settled, ma'm. I am going on to Exeter from here, and shall get her a stock of clothes there, and will bring her back next Saturday. Will it suit you to take her then?"

30. Mrs. Walsham said that would suit very well; and an hour later the sergeant set out from Sidmouth with his box, Aggie trotting alongside, talking continuously.

31. "But why am I to stop with that lady, grampa, and not to go about with you any more? I sha'n't like it. I like going about, though I get so tired sometimes when you are showing the pictures; and I like being with you. It isn't 'cause I have been naughty, is it? 'Cause I fell out of the boat into the water? I won't never get into a boat again, and I didn't mean to fall out, you know."

32. "No, Aggie, it's not that," the sergeant said. "You are always a good girl--at least, not always, because sometimes you get into passions, you know. Still, altogether you are a good little girl. Still, you see, you can't always be going about the country with me."

33. "But why not, grampa?"

34. "Well, my dear, because great girls can't go about the country like men. It wouldn't be right and proper they should."

35. "Why shouldn't it be, grampa?" the child persisted.

36. "Well, Aggie, I can't exactly explain to you why, but so it is. Men and boys have to work. They go about in ships, or as soldiers to fight for their country, just as I did. Girls and women have to stop at home, and keep house, and nurse babies, and that sort of thing. God made man to be hard and rough, and to work and go about. He made woman gentle and soft, to stop at home and make things comfortable."

37. Aggie meditated for some distance, in silence, upon this view of the case.

38. "But I have seen women working in the fields, grampa, and some of them didn't seem very soft and gentle."

39. "No, Aggie, things don't always go just as they ought to do; and you see, when people are poor, and men can't earn enough wages, then their wives and daughters have to help; and then, you see, they get rough, more like men, because they are not doing their proper work. But I want you to grow up soft and gentle, and so, for a time, I want you to live with that lady with the nice boy who pulled you out of the water, and they will make you very happy, and I shall come and see you sometime."

40. "I like him," the child said with a nod; "but I would rather be with you, you know."

41. "And the lady will teach you to read, Aggie. You have learned your letters, you know."

42. Aggie shook her head, to show that this part of the programme was not particularly to her liking.

43. "Do you think the boy will play with me, grampa?"

44. "I daresay he will, Aggie, when you are very good; and you must never forget, you know, that he saved your life. Just think how unhappy I should be, if he had not got you out of the water."

45. "The water was cold and nasty," Aggie said, "and it seemed so warm and nice to my hands. Aggie won't go near the water any more. Of course, if the boy is with me I can go, because he won't let me tumble in.

46. "Shall I get into the basket now, grampa? I is tired."

47. "Oh, nonsense, little woman! you have not walked half a mile yet.  Anyhow, you must trot along until you get to the top of this hill, then you shall have a lift for a bit."

48. And so, with the child sometimes walking and sometimes riding, sometimes asleep in her basket and sometimes chatting merrily to her grandfather, the pair made their way across the country towards Exeter.

5.    What did James often wish he had?  _________________________

6.    Did Aggie like the idea of living with the Walsham’s?  ____________

7.    Does Aggie like Jim?  _____________________________________

8.    How far had they walked?  _________________________________

Vocabulary:  associate, contentment, demeaned, injuriously, pucuniarily, remonstrate, terribly

49. There was no little talk in Sidmouth when, on the following Sunday, the showman's grandchild appeared in Mrs. Walsham's pew in church, and it became known that she had become an inmate of her house. It was generally considered that Mrs. Walsham had let herself down greatly by taking the showman's grandchild, and one or two of the mothers of her pupils talked about taking them away. One or two, indeed, called upon
her to remonstrate personally, but they gained nothing by the step.

50. "I do not understand what you mean," she said quietly, "by saying that the child is not fit to associate with my other pupils. She is singularly gentle and taking in her manner. She expresses herself better than any child of her own age in Sidmouth, so far as I know.

51. “There are few so neatly and prettily dressed. What is there to object to? Her grandfather has been a sergeant in the army. He bears a good character, and is liked wherever he goes. I do not consider that James or myself are, in any way, demeaned by sitting down to meals with the child, who, indeed, behaves as prettily and nicely as one could wish; and I certainly do not see that any of my pupils can be injuriously affected by the fact that, for an hour or two in the day, she learns her lessons in the same room with them. Had I thought that they would be, I should not have received her. I shall, of course, be sorry if any of my pupils are taken away, but as I have several girls only waiting for vacancies, it would make no difference to me pecuniarily."

52. And so it happened that Mrs. Walsham lost none of her pupils, and in a short time the wonder died out. Indeed, the child herself was so pretty, and taking in her ways, that it was impossible to make any objection to her personally.

53. Mrs. Walsham had been struck by the self command which she showed at parting with her grandfather. Her eyes were full of tears, her lip quivered, and she could scarcely speak; but there was no loud wailing, no passionate outburst. Her grandfather had impressed upon her that the parting was for her own good, and child though she was, she felt how great a sacrifice he was making in parting with her, and although she could not keep the tears from streaming down her cheeks, or silence her sobs as she bade him goodbye, she tried hard to suppress her grief.

54. The pain of parting was, indeed, fully as great to Sergeant Wilks as to his granddaughter; and it was with a very husky voice that he bade her goodbye, and then, putting her into Mrs. Walsham's arms, walked hastily away.

55. Aggie was soon at home. She and James very quickly became allies, and the boy was ever ready to amuse her, often giving up his own plans to take her for a walk to pick flowers in the hedgerow, or to sail a tiny boat for her in the pools left as the sea retired. Mrs. Walsham found, to her surprise, that the child gave little trouble. She was quiet and
painstaking during the half hours in the morning and afternoon when she was in the school room, while at mealtimes her prattle and talk amused both mother and son, and altogether she made the house brighter and happier than it was before.

56. In two months the sergeant came round again. He did not bring his box with him, having left it at his last halting place; telling James, who happened to meet him as he came into Sidmouth, that he did not mean to bring his show there again.

57. "It will be better for the child," he explained. "She has done with the peep show now, and I do not want her to be any longer associated with it."

58. Aggie was delighted to see him, and sprang into his arms, with a scream of joy, as he entered. After a few minutes' talk, Mrs. Walsham suggested that she should put on her hat and go for a walk with him, and, in high contentment, the child trotted off, holding her grandfather's hand. Turning to the left, the sergeant took the path up the hill, and when he reached the top, sat down on the short turf, with Aggie nestling up against him.

59. "So you are quite well and happy, Aggie?" he asked.

60. "Quite well, grampa, and very happy; but I do wish so much that you were here. Oh. it would be so nice to have you to go out with every day!"

61. "I am afraid that cannot be managed, Aggie. I have been busy so long that I could not settle down quietly here. Besides, I must live, you know."

62. "But wouldn't people give you money for the show if you lived here, grampa? You always got money here the same as other places."

63. "Yes, my dear, but I could not get fresh pictures every day, and should soon tire them by showing the old house."

64. "But you are sorry sometimes, grampa, not to have me with you?"

65. "Yes, Aggie, very sorry. I miss you terribly sometimes, and I am always thinking about you."

66. "Then why don't you take me away again, grampa?"

67. "Because, as I told you, Aggie, I want you to learn to read, and to grow up quite a little lady."

68. "Does reading make one a lady, grampa?"

69. "No, Aggie, not by itself, but with other things."

70. "And when I am quite grown up and big, and know how to read nicely, shall I be able to go with you again?"

71. "We will see about that, Aggie, when the time comes. There is plenty of time yet to think about that."

72. "But I am getting on very fast, grampa, and the lady says I am a good girl. So it won't be such a very long time before I can leave."

73. "It will be some time, yet. You have only got to read little words yet, but there are lots of long words which you will come to presently. But Mrs. Walsham tells me that you are getting on nicely, and that you are a very good girl, which pleases me very much; and when I am walking along with my box, I shall like to be able to think of you as being quite comfortable and happy."

74. "And I go walks with Jim, grampa, and Jim has made me a boat, and he says someday, when it is very fine and quiet, he will take me out in a big boat, like that boat, you know; and he is going to ask you if he may, for the lady said I must not go out with him till he has asked you. And he said he won't let me tumble over, and I am going to sit
quite, quite still."

75. "Yes, Aggie, I don't see any harm in your going out with him. I am sure he will only take you when it is fine, and he will look after you well.  You like him, don't you?"

76. "Oh! I do, grampa; and you know, it was him who got me out of the water, else I should never have come out, and never have seen grampa again; and he has made me a boat. Oh! yes, I do like him!"

77. "That's right, my dear; always stick to those who are good to you."

9.    How many students did Mrs. Walsham lose?  ___________________

10.    What kind of voice did Sgt. Wilks have when he said goodby to

    Aggie?  ________________________________________________

11.    How long was it before Sgt. Wilks came back?  _________________

12.    What kind of words could Aggie read?  ________________________

Vocabulary:  arrogant, deference, circumstances, essentially, estate, grandeur, heir, indifference, indignation, insolent, Linthorne, magistrate, numerous, peevishness, tutor, vague, vexed

78. A few days after this, as James was sailing the toy boat, for Aggie's amusement, in a pool, a boy sauntered up. He was somewhat taller than James Walsham, and at least two years older. He was well dressed, and James knew him as the nephew and heir of the squire.

79. It was not often that Richard Horton came down into the village. He was accustomed to be treated with a good deal of deference at the Hall, and to order servants and grooms about pretty much as he chose, and the indifference with which the fisher boys regarded him offended him greatly. He was a spoilt boy. His uncle had a resident tutor for him, but the selection had been a bad one. The library was large and good, the tutor fond of reading, and he was content to let the boy learn as little as he chose, providing that he did not trouble him. As to any instruction beyond books, he never thought of giving it.

80. The squire never interfered. He was a silent and disappointed man. He attended to his duties as a magistrate, and to the management of his estate, but seldom went beyond the lodge gates. He took his meals by himself, and often did not see his nephew for a week together, and had no idea but that he was pursuing his studies regularly with his tutor.  Thus, the character of Richard Horton formed itself unchecked. At the best it was a bad one, but under other circumstances it might have been improved.

81. Up to the age of ten, he had lived in London with his father and mother, the latter a sister of the squire, who, having married beneath her, to the indignation of Mr. Linthorne, he had never seen her afterwards.

82. Four years before the story begins, she had received a letter from him, saying that, as her eldest son was now his heir, he wished him to come and live with him, and be prepared to take his place. The Hortons, who had a numerous family, at once accepted the offer, and Richard, hearing that he was going to a grand house, and would no doubt have a pony and all sorts of nice things, left his father and mother without a tear.

83. He was essentially selfish. He was vain of his good looks, which were certainly striking; and with his changed fortunes he became arrogant, and, as the squire's servants said, hateful; and yet the change had brought him less pleasure than he expected. It was true that he had the pony, that he was not obliged to trouble himself with lessons, that he was an important person at the "Hall;" but he had no playfellows, no one to admire his grandeur, and the days often passed heavily, and there was a look of discontent and peevishness upon his handsome face.

84. Perhaps the reason why he so seldom came down into Sidmouth, was not only because the fisher boys were not sufficiently impressed with his importance, but because they looked so much happier and more contented than he felt, in spite of his numerous advantages. On this day he was in a particularly bad temper. He had lamed his pony the day before, by riding it furiously over a bad road after it had cast a shoe. The gardener had objected to his picking more than half a dozen peaches which had just come into perfection, and had threatened to appeal to the squire.

85. Altogether, he was out of sorts, and had walked down to the sea with a vague hope that something might turn up to amuse him. He stood for some little time watching James sail the boat, and then strode down to the edge of the pool. The boat was a model of a smack, with brown sails. James had taken a good deal of pains with it, and it was an excellent model.

86. Presently, in crossing, she stuck in a shallow some twelve feet from the edge. The intervening stretch of water was a foot deep.  James picked up some small stones and threw them close to her, that the tiny wave they made might float her off. He tried several times without success.

87. "What's the use of such little stones as that?" Richard said roughly.  "You will never get her off like that;" and picking up one as large as his fist, he threw it with some force.

88. It struck the mast, and broke it asunder, and knocked the boat on to her side. James Walsham uttered an angry exclamation.

89. "You are a bad boy," Aggie said passionately. "You are a bad boy to break my boat;" and she burst into tears.

90. "I didn't mean to do it, you little fool!" Richard said angrily, vexed more at his own clumsiness than at the damage it had caused. "What are you making such a beastly noise about?" and he gave her a push.

91. It was not a hard one, but the ground was slippery, and the child's foot slipped, and she fell at the edge of the pool, her dress going partly into the water. At the same instant, Richard reeled, and almost fell beside her, from a heavy blow between the eyes from James's fist.

92. "You insolent blackguard!" he exclaimed furiously, "I will pay you for this;" and he rushed at James.

93. The combat was not a long one. Hard work at rowing and sailing had strengthened Jim Walsham's muscles, and more than balanced the advantage in height and age of his adversary. He had had, too, more than one fight in his time, and after the first sudden burst of passion, caused by the overthrow of Aggie, he fought coolly and steadily, while Richard rained his blows wildly, without attempting to guard his face.

13.    What was James doing with Aggie?  __________________________

14.    What did Richard’s tutor let him do?  __________________________

15.    How did Richard break the boat?  ____________________________

16.    Where did James hit Richard?  ______________________________

Vocabulary:  champion, conceive, confidentially, constable, culpability, exaggerated, furious, monstrous, opinion, outrageous, Pharaoh, punctually, superficial, terminating, thrashing, vengeance

94. The child, on regaining her feet, ran crying loudly towards the beach, making for two fishermen who were engaged in mending a net some distance away; but before she could reach them to beg for aid for her champion, the fight was over, terminating by a heavy right-handed hit from James, which landed Richard Horton on his back in the pool.

95. James stood quietly awaiting a renewal of the conflict when he arose, but Richard had had enough of it. One of his eyes was already puffed and red, his nose bleeding, and his lip cut. His clothes were soaked from head to foot, and smeared with the red mud.

96. "I will pay you out for this, you see if I don't," Richard gasped hoarsely.

97. "What! have you had enough of it?" James said scornfully. "I thought you weren't any good. A fellow who would bully a little girl is sure to be a coward."

98. Richard moved as if he would renew the fight, but he thought better of it, and with a furious exclamation hurried away towards the Hall.

99. James, without paying any further heed to him, waded after the boat, and having recovered it, walked off towards the child, who, on seeing his opponent had moved off, was running down to meet him.

100. "Here is the boat, Aggie," he said. "There is no great harm done, only the mast and yard broken. I can easily put you in fresh ones;" but the child paid no attention to the boat.

101. "He is a wicked bad boy, Jim; and did he hurt you?"

102. "Oh, no, he didn't hurt me, Aggie, at least nothing to speak of. I hurt him a good deal more. I paid him out well for breaking your boat, and pushing you down, the cowardly brute!"

103. "Only look, Jim," she said, holding out her frock. "What will she say?"

104. James laughed.

105. "Mother won't say anything," he said. "She is accustomed to my coming in all muddy."

106. "But she said 'Keep your frock clean,' and it's not clean," Aggie said in dismay.

107. "Yes, but that is not your fault, little one. I will make it all right with her, don't you fret. Come on, we had better go home and change it as soon as possible."

108. They passed close by the two fishermen on their way.

109. "You gave it to the young squire finely, Master Walsham," one of them said, "and served him right, too. We chanced to be looking at the moment, and saw it all. He is a bad un, he is, by what they say up at the Hall. I heard one of the grooms talking last night down at the 'Ship,' and a nice character he gave him. This thrashing may do him some good; and look you, Master Walsham, if he makes a complaint to the squire, and it's likely enough he will get up a fine story of how it came about--the groom said he could lie like King Pharaoh--you just send word to me, and me and Bill will go up to the squire, and tell him the truth of the matter."

110. Mrs. Walsham felt somewhat alarmed when her son told her what had happened, for the squire was a great man at Sidmouth, a magistrate, and the owner of the greater part of the place as well as of the land around it; and although Mrs. Walsham did not hold the same exaggerated opinion of his powers as did the majority of his neighbours, who would scarcely have dreamt of opposing it, had the squire ordered anyone to be hung and quartered, still she felt that it was a somewhat terrible thing that her son should have thrashed the nephew and heir of the great man.

111. In the evening there was a knock at the door, and the little maid came in with eyes wide open with alarm, for she had heard of the afternoon's battle, to say that the constable wished to speak to Mrs. Walsham.

112. "Servant, ma'am," he said as he entered. "I am sorry to be here on an unpleasant business; but I have got to say as the squire wishes to see Master Walsham in the justice room at ten o'clock, on a charge of 'salt and battery.

113. "Don't you be afeard ma'am," he went on confidentially. "I don't think as anything is going to be done to him. I ain't got no warrant, and so I don't look upon it as regular business. I expects it will be just a blowing up. It will be just the squire, and not the magistrate, I takes it. He told me to have him up there at ten, but as he said nothing
about custody, I thought I would do it my own way and come to you quiet like; so if you say as Master Walsham shall be up there at ten o'clock, I'll just take your word for it and won't come to fetch him. The doctor was always very good to me and my missus, and I shouldn't like to be walking through Sidmouth with my hand on his son's collar."

114. "Thank you, Hobson," Mrs. Walsham said quietly. "You can rely upon it my son shall be there punctually. He has nothing to be afraid or ashamed of."

115. Full of rage as Richard Horton had been, as he started for home, he would never have brought the matter before the squire on his own account. His case was too weak, and he had been thrashed by a boy younger than himself. Thus, he would have probably chosen some other way of taking his vengeance; but it happened that, just as he arrived home, he met his tutor coming out. The latter was astounded at Richard's appearance. His eyes were already puffed so much that he could scarcely see out of them, his lips were cut and swollen, his shirt stained with blood, his clothes drenched and plastered with red mud.

116. "Why, what on earth has happened, Richard?"

117. Richard had already determined upon his version of the story.

118. "A brute of a boy knocked me down into the water," he said, "and then knocked me about till he almost killed me."

119. "But what made him assault you in this outrageous manner?" his tutor asked. "Surely all the boys about here must know you by sight; and how one of them would dare to strike you I cannot conceive."

120. "I know the fellow," Richard said angrily. "He is the son of that doctor fellow who died two years ago."

121. "But what made him do it?" the tutor repeated.

122. "He was sailing his boat, and it got stuck, and he threw in some stones to get it off; and I helped him, and I happened to hit the mast of his beastly boat, and then he flew at me like a tiger, and that's all."

123. "Well, it seems to be a monstrous assault, Richard, and you must speak to the squire about it."

124. "Oh, no, I sha'n't," Richard said hastily. "I don't want any row about it, and I will pay him off some other way. I could lick him easy enough if it had been a fair fight, only he knocked me down before I was on my guard. No, I sha'n't say anything about it."

125. But Richard's tutor, on thinking the matter over, determined to speak to the squire. Only the evening before, Mr. Linthorne had surprised him by asking him several questions as to Richard's progress and conduct, and had said something about examining him himself, to see how he was getting on. This had caused Mr. Robertson no little alarm, for he knew that even the most superficial questioning would betray the extent of Richard's ignorance, and he had resolved that, henceforth, he would endeavour to assert his authority, and to insist upon Richard's devoting a certain portion of each day, regularly, to study. Should the squire meet the boy anywhere about the house, he must at once notice the condition of his face; and even if he did not meet him, he could not fail to notice it on Sunday, when he sat beside him in the pew. It would be better, therefore, that he should at once report the matter to him.

126. Without saying a word to Richard of his intentions, he therefore went to the squire's study, and told him what had taken place, as he had learned it from Richard. The squire listened silently.

127. "Very well, Mr. Robertson. You were quite right to tell me about it. Of course, I cannot suffer my nephew to be treated in this manner. At the same time, I am sorry that it was Walsham's son. I don't know anything about the boy, and should not know him even by sight, but I had an esteem for his father, who was a hard-working man, and, I believe,
clever. He used to attend here whenever any of the servants were ill, and I had intended to do something for the boy. I am sorry he has turned out so badly. However, I will have him up here and speak to him.  This sort of thing cannot be permitted."

128. And accordingly, orders were given to the constable. When, in the evening, Mr. Robertson informed Richard what he had done, the boy flew into a terrible passion, and abused his tutor with a violence of language which shocked and astonished him, and opened his eyes to his own culpability, in allowing him to go on his way unchecked. He in vain endeavoured to silence the furious lad. He had been so long without exercising any authority, that he had now no authority to exercise, and, after an angry scene, Richard flung himself out of the room, and left his tutor in a state bordering on consternation.

17.    What was broken on the boat?  ______________________________

18.    Who witnessed the fight?  __________________________________

19.    Who met Richard when he returned home?  ____________________

20.    What caused Mr. Robertson alarm?  __________________________

Go to Chapter 3.

Return To Chapter Titles.

Return To Home Page.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

******

Don't need our full program? Like to teach your children to read yourself? Click Here!

Need Extra Cash? Want A Part-Time Or Full-Time Income? Tired Of Endless Hype, Get-Rich Quick Schemes and False Promises? Amazing Opportunity Available For Select Individuals. Click Here For More Information.