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with her teeth, and endeavoured to wrench it from his grasp; but it was a matter of life and death with Cheney, and he fought savagely; but, in the meantime, the wolf by stepping on his snow-shoes as she closed with him, threw
He then thought the game was up, unless he could make his dogs, which were scouring the forest round, hear him.
He called, therefore, loud and sharp after these noble animals, and soon a young hound sprung into view; but no sooner did he see the condition of his master, than he turned in affright, and with his tail between his legs, fled into the woods. But at this critical moment, the other hound burst, with a shrill savage cry and a wild bound upon the struggling group, sinking his teeth to the jaw-bone in the wolf, he tore her fiercely from his master. Turning to grapple with this new foe, she gave Cheney an opportunity to gather himself up, and fight to better advantage. At length, by a welldirected blow, he crushed in her skull, which finished the work. Such are a few of the difficulties and dangers of forest-life my young friends, and those who like such, may go and take them; as for myself, I am now getting too old for this kind of work, and indeed I was never fond of blood and slaughter in any shape.
N many of the old Provincial Schools of the
country vestiges of popular superstitions are retained, especially in the Grammar School of
Durham, where the scholars bar out the master, and forcibly obtain from him, what they call, orders,
There is also a similar custom at the School of Houghton-le-Spring, in the County of Durham ; but the exploit, which I am about to relate to my young readers, took place at a large Boarding School, in the vicinity of Canterbury, which was an old foundation school, and presided over by the very Prince of Pedagogues.
The School, which for obvious reasons I shall not name except by calling it the “High Grammar School of Little Puddington,” was situated in one of the best parts of the town-close to the church, the market-house, and the theatre. It was a commodious building, of the “Queen Anne style of architecture," as Fibbs calls it, a quadrangular red-brick, stone-cornered erection, enclosed in a small court-yard by high walls, with a high iron gate curiously twisted, supported
by two square brick pilasters, each having on its top a very large round stone ball, and being a little lop-sided, owing to an ungracious attempt once made by some of the scholars to tip the balls off their bases. A large play-ground stretched from the rear of the building, and at the centre of one of its sides, having a covered way leading from the house, was the school-room--a commodious building of strong brickwork-matching, in style of architecture, with the House and having two windows, one each side of its central entrance, well protected by perpendicular iron bars from the attacks of the midnight robber. The interior of the school-house was fitted up with the usual paraphernalia of desks, forms, boxes, maps, globes, &c. ; at its further end was the rostrum of the Magister, and below this those of the three ushers, or assistants, as they are now called ; and in accordance with forms and concomitant regulations, the school had proceeded through the usual studies in Latin, Greek, and Algebra, without many variations in the daily task work, under a good old clergyman, who made the yoke easy and the burden light of his scholars, till he died in his eightieth year, rather suddenly, after a merry-making of the scholars. The whole establishment then underwent a complete metamorphosis by the election of a new master to the endowment, who had entered upon his onerous duties at the Midsummer quarter of the
year, and had been formally acquainted with his scholars for about five months, when the little affair took place I am about to relate. The new pedagogue was a very different person from the
He was of what they call stiff, clear-starch principles, and hectorean ideas, a rigid disciplinarian, and a disciple
of the cane. Being short, and rather podgy, he had, of
. course, all those numerous airs of self-importance which people, little in person and little in mind, usually take upon themselves. He was as remarkably fond of riding a tall horse out of doors as he was of riding the high horse in the school-room, and prided himself greatly upon his skill in horsemanship. He rode, a la militaire, with long stirrups, bolt upright, with one arm dangling down by his side; and he carried the same military ideas through the whole of the “propria que maribus,” with all other matters of the scholastic kind, to the infinite mortification of his hundred and twentyfour scholars, who, having both a contempt as well as a hatred for their preceptor, became very rebelliously inclined. The contempt arose from the vanity and ridiculous pomposity displayed by him on all occasions, little and great; and the hatred, from the long tasks, the numerous floggings, the severe penalties, and the few holidays; and these feelings had been smouldering in the minds of the pupils for many weeks, when a rosy-cheeked, bright-eyed, curly-headed boy, named Alexander, who was considered the captain of the school, from his gallant principles and noble bearing, thought of the old and almost obsolete custom in that part of the country, called “Barring Out."
This custom generally took place about the time of Christmas, and consisted in keeping the master out of the schoolroom for three days, by barricading every avenue to the place, and defending it like a besieged city. It was the custom in such cases, if the master could be successfully kept at bay, for terms of capitulation to be offered by the boys, in relation to the discipline of the school, the quantity of tasks to be imposed, and the number of the penalties and floggings to be inflicted ; and being accepted by the master, on his honour as a gentleman, the unbarring took place, and a jolly revel terminated the proceedings. On the other hand, if the pupils failed in holding out the school-house against their assailants for the period of three days, the master admittedly had a right to dictate bis own terms on all those matters which have been mentioned. He obtained also the momentous right of castigating at will the actors in the rebellion-a labour which they always took care to save him in cases where they were successful, by making that point the subject of a very explicit condition in the act of capitulation. This document, it may be observed, was commonly drawn up in a formal and very diplomatic style; securities for the fulfilment of all its stipulations being provided on both sides, and signatures affixed by the Magister and his scholars, or by plenipotentiaries appointed by the latter, for the purpose. The “high-contending parties were then at peace for the year.
This old custom was revived at the suggestion of Henry Alexander, the head of the Greek class, and, as I said before, a boy of heroic courage and enterprise. He communicated the idea to a chosen few, and offered to be the leader of the undertaking, if the others would promise on their honour to give him their support. The chosen few consisted of his comates in Greek—the Greek class itself. They at first were startled at the proposition, but called it capital—then they declared themselves ready to a man—then they considered then they hesitated—then they grew cold, and then again grew bold. The captain told them that they were under a