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The Divites have coined a nickname of Tugmutton for their poorer little brethren, in allusion, I believe, to the prevailing collegiate dinnerfare being, according to their sainted founder's directions, principally provided by the docile sheep.
Considering that the great and good king, sainted founder aforesaid, was legislating for little boys who could not know their own minds, his provision seems to me to have been a wise one. The arrangement, though indeed considered by some Unthinkers as apparently open to a charge of monotony, was admirably suited to scholastic purposes. The boy-student, coming straight from his room, where he had been getting Greek verbs by heart, into the dining-hall, would not have his attention distracted by the empty politenesses of waiters inquiring what it might please the fancy of Master Dullard to take. He would be burdened with no thought as to what he should eat or should drink (this must have occurred to the memory of the pious founder), but externally engaged in the mechanical munching of mutton, and internally digesting the same, he might, interiorly, in his head of heads, be conjugating the irregular verbs in mi, framing paulo-post-futures for still more wayward members of the same family, or, in brief, mentally indulging in any one of those pleasant grammatical exercises to which we, as boys, were, all of us, so partial.
The Sainted Founder would have his boys to take no thought for the morrow, what they should eat, or drink, or wherewithal they should be clothed: so he piously regulated their dinners beforehand, and bought them a gown apiece.
One blot there is upon our Henry's memory. In that he charged the collegiate authorities, those present and those that were yet for to come, with the due provision of boiled mutton, he did well. In that he omitted to mention in his directions, " and turnips," he did badly. I do not know if, on the occasion of the canonization of royalty, this charge was ever brought forward by the devil's advocate; but if not, then I trow there was a failure in his duty towards his gentlemanly client on the part of the counsel engaged by the Into what company have we got? Vade retro Satanas! Who am I that I should criticise, and at this time of day too, the Acta Sancti Henrici ! I have frighted Modo and Mahu Had Georgius Tertius (I will stick close to what Latin I can for a while), I say, had Georgius Tertius been the kingly founder, "cum turnipibus" would have been in the statutes of Holyshade.
"Cum, aut sine, turnipibus," Master Maurice Passmore was a
Tagmutton. Such a pretty, jolly, little Tugmutton too! Chubby as to his blooming cheeks and his little hands.
Caressed and petted by the upper boys, toadied as a favourite in power by those of his own order in the lower forms, it would have been a marvel had he turned out aught else but a spoiled boy, detestable. Spoiled he was, detestable he was not.
His father's scheme was entirely and only for his boy's advancement in such learning as should, in a college fellowship, be his future provision for life.
Moral culture he left to his pastors and masters standing in the place of a parent when at school; to his own fatherly guidance in the holidays.
Pastors and masters, forsooth! Did the child live with them, play with them, joke, laugh, talk naturally with them!
The companionship of schoolfellows: such a surrounding influence as this never entered into the rector's head.
When the boy came among the cloistered youth, the captain of the school, a Tug, took him up, assisted him in his lessons, and did him many other kind offices.
The Oppidan captain, a dashing young fellow, took him out in his boat, and treated him to unwonted delicacies, not a twentieth part of which could little Maurice's allowance of one shilling per week have purchased.
And then the honour! A Colleger, a Tug, not only arm and arm with an Oppidan, but with the Oppidan of Oppidans, their captain! Arm and arm did I say? The boys had an affectionate way of walking together, the taller's arm over the shorter's shoulder.
Once on a summer's evening, Passmore, coming down to see his son, caught sight of the two boys thus strolling through the playing fields.
How pleased, how proud he was of his boy! for, mind you, the lad never swerved from his onward course of learning. The acquiring of knowledge was to him a matter of course-a nature; it came as easily to him as eating his mutton. His father had received the very best accounts of Master Passmore's progress from his tutor, and what more could he want!
"David and Jonathan," thought the Rev. Mr. Passmore to himself; or, perhaps, a young Mentor with a younger Telemachus. Could he have seen without spectacles, there was a Mephistopheles of seventeen guiding a Faust of thirteen. But with the Mephistopheles we are not concerned here.
Though a favourite with his elders, he was, strange to say, liked by his juniors; he was, every one allowed, so thoroughly good-hearted. [Second Thoughts for the second time. This certainly ought to have been headed the Story of a Good Fellow.]
The boy, growing up towards manhood, day by day, year by year, among those who fondled and patted him, liked everybody indiscriminately. He was incapable of strong affection. He was too lazily disposed, too much of a coward, physically and morally, to cherish hatred. Consequently, he seldom gave offence; and if he did inadvertently say or do some spiteful action, its vindictiveness was blurred out with a good-tempered laugh, just as a water-colour artist softens with a full brush the hard line of his little thunder-cloud.
He was capricious by imitation; yet, being such as I have told you he was, he learned to love-to love one; and that one with all his heart and soul, with a powerful, increasing, all-absorbing passion-a passion unperceived by lookers-on; its force and rapid growth unnoticed by its subject; its existence imperceptible to its object. Nay, more, inversely as the knowledge of its object did this love increase.
A love that, in his riper years, when searching out first causes for future guidance, evoked bitter regrets, retrospectively useless, prospectively invaluable.
What precocity was this? A boy, a child, thirteen years of age, suffering from a love-consumption, incurable by herbs!
And who, may I ask, was the
The "she"? Talleyrand, with a shrug, would have asked such a question, and I should have been compelled to inform that sagacious minister that he, not for once only, was wrong.
Who was she?
Not a she at all, my reader; he loved-HIMSELF.
On reconsidering this proposition, we will not meditate, for we could but commence with, Was Maurice Passmore so very different in this respect from all other boys or men? from, for instance-- Well, we have not got time just now for this matter, and you see self-deccit is such a very unpleasant subject.
This good-looking, good-natured, good-hearted boy passed his school-days and holidays basking, book in hand, in the sunshine.
There was no rain, there were no clouds for him as yet, for the course of self-love runs so smoothly.
THE FORTUNES OF A FREE LANCE.
BY THE AUTHOR OF GUY LIVINGSTONE," ETC., ETC.
GIAN MALATESTA'S COUNSEL.
WHILST Hawkwood was disposing all things for the garrisoning of Hacquemont, he was not without certain doubts and misgivings, as to whether it were not wiser to carry Gian Malatesta away, than to leave him there with the rest. He liked the man not a whit better than he did when they marched out of Calais: but since that time the Italian had given no overt cause for complaint; neither had he by look, word, or sign betrayed the faintest enmity to Ralph Brakespeare; so there was no real reason, why the two might not safely abide together for so short a space. Also, Sir John knew that the Italian's rare expertness in the use of warlike engines-whereof several of rather antique make were ranged on the battlements-could ill be spared in case of assault. Moreover, it was probable that the sombre, jealous nature of the man might take umbrage, if he found himself singled out from his comrades as unfitted to be trusted beyond their commander's sight. Besides all this, Hawkwood had conceived great respect, not only for Brakespeare's thews and sinews, but also for his coolness and nerve; so that he could scarce believe in the esquire's coming to harm in any ordinary peril.
Had the knight wist of the truth, he would have struck off Malatesta's head with his own hand, rather than have left him at Hacquemont. But, with all his sagacity, he never guessed how, during all those long months of inaction, a foul leaven had been fermenting in his little band, till scarce a savour was left of the old loyal grain. He never guessed how that subtle traitor had lost no chance of embittering irritation into dislike, and weariness into discontent-inflaming, either by taunt or temptation, the evil passions of each in that motley company, whereof scarce half were English-born— till, without any concerted plan, nearly the whole were ripe for mutiny.
At first, probably Gian Malatesta began the work without any definite purpose, out of the pure malignity that makes devils impatient of idleness; but for some time past-seeing how the materials moulded themselves to his will-he had been looking out for a chance of turning them to account. Never once, throughout all his plotting and scheming, had he lost sight of Brakespeare: despite all his cunning, there was so much of the simple savage in the polished desperado, that he would scarce have cared to build up the edifice of his own fortune, unless its first stone were red-wet with the blood of his enemy. Over such a garrison was Ralph set in charge, on the first occasion of his holding single command.
Without the faintest suspicion of the peril that encompassed him, the esquire was graver and more thoughtful than his wont that morning. The new sense of responsibility might sufficiently account for this; and, as he stood on the eastern battlements watching the hindmost of the column disappear, he repeated Hawkwood's concise orders over and over to himself, till he felt sure of not forgetting one word. Then, with the different keys of the castle at his belt, he visited cach lock separately, seeing that all was fast-more especially that of a low building running round one side of the outer bailey, in which the late garrison were confined after their disarming. In this round he was accompanied by Lanyon; who for some time past had been specially attached to his person, much in the capacity of a bâtman of modern days. When the inspection was done, and the guards properly set, it was full time for the mid-day meal, which was prepared in the large lower chamber of the keep; but to this the esquire felt in no ways inclined to do justice. Sitting down in his place, he ate a few morsels and drank one cup of wine, and then went forth to walk alone on the battlements; never noticing certain dark looks, and sullen glances, levelled at him as he went, chiefly from the upper end of the board.
"Sec'st thou that ?"—grumbled Martin Stackpole to his neighbour, Berchtold of Boppart. "His worship can digest no meat eaten in our company. I would the Fiend had the filling of his proud stomach. Perchance, to-morrow we shall hear him taking a lesson on the lute in the bower of those bonny birds, at whom I marked thee casting kites' eyes from thy saddle but now."
The beetle-browed giant slacked not the play of his jaws; but growled out, betwixt two huge mouthfuls, somewhat that might be either assent or curse.