|Newspaper Title||Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872)|
|Trove Title||A Girl Named Bobbie|
j A Girl Named Bobbie. [;? CHAPTER XVII.
I" The boy eating peppermints come here."
Silence broken only by the industrious scraping of pencils .on greasy slates.
" Boy eating peppermints como here."
A little thrill of anticipated excitement ;" ran through 30 boyish breasts ; 30 pairs of
ears were pricked up inquisitively, 30 pairs of eyes were turned to the master with that expression of surprised wonder mingled with I shocked innocence that is worn by school-
boys all thc world over, when an undis ] covered offender is in their midst.
I ? » Stop work !"
j- Thiity pencils wore poised over 30 slates, f , pleasurable little cold chills were playing j up and down 30 backs.
I It was a.critical moment ; the four classes
of the school the Wallace boys attended were assembled in the large schoolroom, tho two head classes having dictation, the head- master was taking the two lower ones to ~~ gether for arithmetic.
The clock hands had slowly travelled round to 12 o'clock ; half-an-hour more and they would be out in the sunshine that I was streaming, in such a tantalising way I through the open window ; half-an-hour I more and little hands that were listlessly at [ work on uninteresting old slates would be I playing marbles, tossing balls, and flying
Four minutes past.- Several hands were slipped surreptitiously into pockets to, make sure some treasured "connie" was safe, tc touch some precious bit pf: wood, tin oi string, to break a morsel off some doliciouf sticky stuff repofein g there.
" Boy eating peppermint stand up !"
No wonder the command uttered in tin doctor's stentorian voice woke terror in se ve ral souls. ' ; . '.
" Punch's taffy ain't peppermint," whisperer
ene boy, with an uneasy glance at th
.: No more's bull's eyes," thought anothei groAving scarlet, however, as the master' . eye fell on him. ;
Bonnie Wallace's fair, ingenuous face WÍI 4 crimson. He was not eating them himsel
but only an hour before at playtime he ha exchanged a large packet of the obnoxiov dainties with Suds, receiving in return I wonderful pencil that.openeel and shut, an \ had a bit of ineliarubber at the top. Sud V ^being avery new scholar as yet, was sittir ; Ziext to him. For the first half hour he hi
j manfully kept his hands out of his pock* j; but at the lait the temptation was too stroi
vp be overcome, and one after another of tl
sweets had travelled from his pocket to h
" Every boy in the two back forms tu out their pockets for me." ;
This was the new command, and the hon of Frederick St. John Wallace stood st
with fear. .
"Bonnie," he whispered hurriedly-t master was examining the form behind " Bonnie, I'm not going to change : I Ava my wed and blue pencil back ; quick, gi , it me 5 hero are your nasty old pepmints.' i\ " No> you don't, no, you don't," sa
J Bonnie, sturdily, and putting his han
, " I never wanted to change, you ma
me, you sneak, take your howid ole lin away," continued Suds, almost dancing wi
terror, and trying to force the handful upon
Bonnie turned his hack disgustedly upon his small brother ; the master* was only three places away, and in a perfect frenzy of fear, Suds stuffed the whole lot into his
" That will do," said Mr. Spencer, and Boonie replaced his treasures in his pockets. "Next, quick." Su3s turned out a hetero- geneous mass of string, bits of lead, feathers, cocoanut, old stamps, currants, green rhu-
" Humph !" said the master ; there was no trace, certainly, brit the odor was very strong. He 'sniffed again and again, and
then for the first time looked at the boy's
Suds nearly fainted at the awful frown, that came over his brow ; in truth it was assumed to hide an almost unconquerable desire to laugh, for masters are only human when all is said and done, and the boy's face with its close shut lips, bulging ovit cheek, and terrified expression was exquisitely
" Boo, 'yah, lemme go," he howled, splut- tering and choking, as Mr. Spencer led him ignominiously forth by one ear into the middle of the schoolroom, " yah, they're Bonnie's, boo, yah, they're not mine, oo-ah -h-h, oh-h-h, I'm littler'n him, hil him, ah-h-h, they're his, oo-oo, thc pencil's mine."
It was all no use, be was led to the door .allowed to dispose of the "pepmints," and brought back for his punishment.
" Hold o ^t your hand,1 iiFrederick," said Mr. Spencer, putting on -his glasses ánc locking down severely and. f ternly at th( terrified little delinquent, " you have beer greedy, untruthful, and dishonorable. ] shall give you two strokes for each," and h"< picked up his cane in a very businesslike
Suds gave a wild, hunted look round, an< his eye fell on his eldest brother, sittiug tal
and stronor in his class.
" O Dickie, save rae ; Dickie 'do save me oh, Dickie, dea-a-ah,dou'tletlnmhitme, he cried, imploringly, making a frantic effoi to place himself under fraternal protection.
Dick, of course, sat motionless, aud onl looked the contempt he felt ' for his sinai brother's un-schoolboy-Mke behavior.
No¿ there was no help for it ; the sma brown hand was forced out, doubled up i firit, open afterwards, and six moderatel sharp strokes fell on it. Back to his seatli went, his small breast heaving with indigm tion, his sobs strangled out of fear ; ox would not hilve thought such a stormi passion and bitter wrath could have bee stirred up in such a mannikin.
Slowly the lessons proceeded again, slow] the minute hand dropped downward till pointed to half-past. Then from thirty bo; ish souls rose a sigh of relief, slates we given up, and form after form filed eager out. Soon the schoolroom Weis empty, ai the playground outside filled with shot and glad voices.
Mr. Spencer sat for a moment at his dei and now there wore no eagle eyed boys watch him, he smiled again and again as
thought of. the little excitement of t morning. "Poor little laddie" he st softly, gathering up his papers.
A little shadow fell across the sun
patch at tho open door, the "poor lit laddie " was standing there, one small stur lace up boot on the threshold, one on 1 gravel outside.
"Well, what is it, Frederick?" he sa meeting the boy's earnest gaze.
" You beast, you," said Suds very slov and emphatically, and then he turned a
fled homeward for dear lifo.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)