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by his lessons on the subject of fighting, that neither of us would have hurt a hair of his head. He had taught us to respect our characters; for such work, he used to say, was that of dogs and bears-not of rational beings.
John Cope soon discovered our peaceable dispositions; for, attracted by our clamour, our master mingled among us, and thus addressed him:-"Cope," said he, "why put yourself into such a bold position? Not a boy here will venture to assail you; and I fear you must have committed some offence, or you would not consider yourself in danger. Fear always accompanies guilt. I heard the boys exclaiming that some one was a cheat: did their charge refer to you?" "Yes, sir," replied Cope, as the colour mounted to his cheeks.
"And is their charge just or unjust?" asked Mr. White.
Evidently conscience-stricken, Cope made no reply; and our master demanded of me an explanation; adding, that the charge was a grave one, and ought not to have been made without having its foundation laid in truth.
Sir," I replied, "I hope we should not be so unjust as to charge Cope with being a cheat, unless we had sufficient proof of it. We respect your instructions too much on that subject." I then explained the matter fully, beginning at the cause of our suspicions, and proceeding downwards to the unfair movement of Cope. My charge was confirmed by all my companions; and Mr. White, being convinced that Cope was in reality a cheat, gave him a grave lecture on the
subject. "It is not," said he, "that any real value can be attached to the prizes you have evidently won unfairly from the boys; they are mere bits of clay; it is in the act that your crime consists. Who cheats his companions out of a paltry marble, would, if it lay in his power, cheat them out of their fortunes. The crime, therefore, must be considered in the same light. And what is it, in reality, to be a cheat? Tell me, Cope."
"I cannot tell," muttered Cope.
"It may seem a harsh term," continued Mr. White, "but it is to be a thief! A cheat may not, indeed, subject himself to the laws of his country, but he is criminal as well as the man who puts a pistol to your head, and demands your money or your life. Of the two he is more ignoble, for he gains his prizes by mean and discreditable shifts. Your crime, therefore, Cope, is no mean one, and if you indulge in it, it may one day cost you your honour-nay, your life. Such habits as these, if they become confirmed, make the rogue that pest and scorn of the world. It is my duty, therefore, to seek to correct it. Although it is not my usual habit to inflict any punishment upon those who may offend in my school, I must punish you in a manner which I know will be severely felt. Open your bag, sir, and scatter its contents upon the ground, that each boy may have what is yet his own."
Cope obeyed the command, though with evident reluctance; and while he stood weeping for the loss of his treasures, we each transferred them to
our empty bags, with a light heart. had done so, I interrogated my companions whether our master was not a wise man?
"He is, Philosopher," said Charles Murphy, archly. "He ought to have been a judge!"
It was a standing maxim with Mr. White, that when once a delinquent was punished, his crime should be forgotten, and we should mingle together in our pastimes as before. On this occasion, however, he saw fit to give us a piece of advice which set his own maxim at defiance. 66 Boys," said he, as he retired to his summer-house, "you must be on your guard." And truly we acted to the very letter of this advice. We did not scout John Cope as unworthy of our friendship, or of joining in our pastimes, but a strict watch was kept over his movements; and many a time have we guided his knuckles to the mark he had unjustly overreached; but this had no effect upon his conduct, and Mr. White often had to lecture him on the same subject. On one occasion, indeed, he even had the temerity to endeavour to overreach our master, who often used to unbend from study and mingle in our pastimes. The event was one of the most noted in my schoolhistory. He saw Cope's unfair movement, and in a stentorian voice he exclaimed, “John Cope, you are a sad cheat; I never play with a trickster!" Having said this, he retired, and resumed his books, and we all instantly left our game, and left John Cope to play his double game of wicket alone-if he could.
EDWARD GRAINGER, THE PASSIONATE BOY-HIS QUARRELSOME HABITS A LESSON ON QUARRELLING-HAS NO EFFECT ON EDWARD GRAINGER-HE IS EXPELLED THE SCHOOL-HIS CONDUCT WHEN HE LEFT-SIMON SLY, THE PILFERER-HE IS EXPELLED.
THE season when we received our principal lessons on the sin of quarrelling was when Edward Grainger was one amongst us:" for then, in truth, there was occasion for them.
Ned Grainger possessed such a peculiar disposition, that, if we had all been of the same mind, our playground would have been the continual scene of discord and strife. A mere look would offend him, and rouse his anger to such an intense degree, that if he had any opportunity afforded him by the absence of our master, his
coat would be off, and the offender called upon to stand forward to answer for his offence.
On one occasion Mr. White was detained in his parlour by friends longer than usual, and during his absence Charles Murphy had played off one of the most innocent jokes his quick wit had ever invented upon the said Edward Grainger. The choleric gentleman's coat was soon off, and poor Charles summoned to stand forth to meet him. Really," said Charles, imploringly, "I hope I have not offended you. I am sure I did not mean it; and if I have, I beg your pardon.”
Any right-minded boy would have taken this apology, even if there had been cause for deep offence; but it was not so with Grainger. He seemed only the more enraged; and his conduct at length became so insulting, that Charles, in an evil moment, prepared for the combat, and had I not enlisted some of the others on my side to stand between them, we should have witnessed such a scene as had never before been witnessed in our playground since the day that I first set foot therein.
We were thus situated when Mr. White, having bade his friends farewell, suddenly appeared among us, and sternly demanded the cause of all the disturbance. As usual, he looked to me for a relation of the event, and when I ceased, he continued: "Charles, I am afraid your waggery will one day cost you dear. But I will do you the justice to suppose that you meant no offence; and where none is meant none should be taken. Your sensible apology, also, ought to have satisfied this irascible boy; for " a soft answer,' as Solomon