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Dry-Rot. Bolsover College was in a bad temper. It often was; for as a rule it had little else to do; and what it had, was usually a less congenial occupation. Bolsover, in fact, was a school which sadly needed two trifling reforms before it could be expected to do much good in the world. One was, that all its masters should be dismissed; the other was, that all its boys should be expelled. When these little changes had been effected there was... more...

The School cuts me. I hardly know yet what it was all about, and at the time I had not an idea. I don’t think I was more of a fool than most fellows of my age at Draven’s, and I rather hope I wasn’t an out-and-out cad. But when it all happened, I had my doubts on both points, and could explain the affair in no other way than by supposing I must be like the lunatic in the asylum, who, when asked how he came to be there, said,... more...

How our heroes enter upon more than one career. On a raw, damp morning in early spring, a rather forlorn group of three youngsters might have been seen on the doorstep of Mountjoy Preparatory School, casting nervous glances up and down the drive, and looking anything but a picture of the life and spirits they really represented. That they were bound on an important journey was very evident. They were muffled up in ulsters, and wore gloves and... more...

In Memoriam. By the death of Talbot B. Reed the boys of the English-speaking world have lost one of their best friends. For fourteen years he has contributed to their pleasure, and in the little library of boys’ books which left his pen he has done as much as any writer of our day to raise the standard of boys’ literature. His books are alike removed from the old-fashioned and familiar class of boys’ stories, which, meaning... more...

How I came to be sent to Stonebridge House. “It was perfectly plain, Hudson, the boy could not be allowed to remain any longer a disgrace to the neighbourhood,” said my uncle. “But, sir,” began my poor old nurse. “That will do, Hudson,” said my uncle, decisively; “the matter is settled—Frederick is going to Stonebridge House on Monday.” And my uncle stood up, and taking a coat-tail under... more...


My First Football Match. It was a proud moment in my existence when Wright, captain of our football club, came up to me in school one Friday and said, “Adams, your name is down to play in the match against Craven to-morrow.” I could have knighted him on the spot. To be one of the picked “fifteen,” whose glory it was to fight the battles of their school in the Great Close, had been the leading ambition of my life—I... more...

An interrupted Bathe. It was a desperately hot day. There had been no day like it all the summer. Indeed, Squires, the head gardener at Garden Vale, positively asserted that there had been none like it since he had been employed on the place, which was fourteen years last March. Squires, by the way, never lost an opportunity of reminding himself and the world generally of the length of his services to the family at Garden Vale; and on the... more...

A Summons. The snow lay thick round Maxfield Manor. Though it had been falling scarcely an hour, it had already transfigured the dull old place from a gloomy pile of black and grey into a gleaming vision of white. It lodged in deep piles in the angles of the rugged gables, and swirled up in heavy drifts against the hall-door. It sat heavily on the broad ivy-leaves over the porch, and blotted out lawn, path, and flowerbed in a universal pall of... more...

How I saw my Queen. Every story, whether wise or foolish, grave or gay, must needs have a beginning. How it comes to pass that my story begins on a certain day in May, in the year of our Lord 1585, I can never, although I am far on in life now, properly explain. For that was not the day on which I was born. That adventure had befallen me eighteen years before, at the parson’s little house in Felton Regis. Most people who write their... more...

Chapter One. My infancy and education—How I was sold and who bought me. “Then you can guarantee it to be a good one to go?” “You couldn’t have a better, sir.” “And it will stand a little roughish wear, you think?” “I’m sure of it, sir; it’s an uncommon strong watch.” “Then I’ll take it.” These few sentences determined my destiny, and from that moment... more...