|Newspaper Title||Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872)|
|Trove Title||A Girl Named Bobbie|
A Ghi Named Bobbie.
" 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 shocked innocence that is worn by school- boys ali the world over, when an undis- covered offender is in their midst.
" Stop work !"
Thiity pencils wore poised over 30 slates, pleasurable little cold chills were playing up and down 30 backs. '
It was a critical moment ; tho four classes of the school the Wallace boys attended were assembled in the large schoolroom, the two head classes having dictation, the head- master Avas taking the two lower ones to- g-ether for arithmetic.
The clock hands had slowly travelled round to 12 o'clock ; half-an-hour more and they would be out in tho sunshine that was streaming, in such a tantalising way through the open window ; half-an-hour more and little hands that were listlessly at
work on uninteresting old slates would be '
playing marbles, tossing balls, and flying
Four minutes past; Several hands were Blipped surreptitiously into pockets to make sure some treasured "connie" was safe, to touch some precious bit pf wood, tin or string, to break a morsel off some delicious sticky stuff reposing there.
" Boy eating peppermint stand up !"
No wonder the command uttered in the doctor's stentorian voice woke terror in seve- ral souls. ? ; . '
" Punch's taffy ain't peppermint," whispered
cue boy, with an uneasy glance at the
No more's bull's eyes," thought another, growing scarlet, however, as the master's
eve fell on him.
Bonnie Wallace's fair, ingenuous face was crimson. He was'not eating them himself, but only an hour before at playtime he had exchanged a large packet of the obnoxious dainties with Suds, receiving in return a wonderful pencil that.opened and shut, and had a bit of indiarubber at the top. Suds, ^being avery new scholar as yet, was sitting
'lext to him. For the first half hour he had manfully kept his hands out of his pocket, but at the lafet the temptation was too strong ip be overcome, and one after another of the
sweets had travelled from his pocket to his
" Every boy in the two back forms turn out their pockets for me." ;
This was the new command, and the heart of Frederick St. John Wallace stood still
with fear. .
"Bonnie," ho whispered hurriedly-tin master was examining the form behind " Bonnie, I'm not going to change : I wan my wed and blue pencil back 5 quick, giv< it me ; hero are your nasty old pepmints."
" No, you don't, no, you don't," sah
Bonnie, sturdily, and putting his hand
" I never wanted to change, you mad roe. you sneak, take your howid ole ling away," continued Suds, almost dancing wit
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 Bonnie 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, but 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 fac( with its close shut lips, bulging out cheek
«and terrified expression was exquisitely
" Boo, 'yali, lemme go," he howled, splut- tering and choking, as Mr. Spencer led him ignominiously forth hy 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-li, I'm littler'n him, hit him, ah-h-li, they're his, oo-oo, the pencil's mine."
It was all no use, he was led to the door, .allowed to dispose of the "pepmints," and brought back for his punishment.
"Hold o ^t your hand,frederick," said Mr. Spencer, putting "on rbis glasses and locking down severely iind f tet'nly at the terrified little delinquent, " you have been greedy, untruthful, and dishonorable. I shall give you two strokes for each," and he picked up his caue in a very businesslike
Suds gave a wild, hunted look round, and his eye fell oh his eldest brother, sittiug tall
n.nrl strone* in bis filn.ss.
" O Did cié, save mo ; Dickie do sive me ; oh, Dickie, dea-a-ak, don't let him hit me," he cried, imploringly, making a frantic effort to place himself under fraternal protection.
Dick, of course, sat motionless, our! only looked the contempt he felt for his small brother's un-schoolboy-'.ike behavior.
No; there was no help for it ; the small brown hand was forced out, doubled up at í\r¿t, open afterwards, and six moderately sharp strokes fell on it. Back to his sea the went, his small breast heaving with indigna- tion, his sobs strangled out of fear ; one would not have thought such a storm of passion «and bitter wrath could have been stirred up in such a mannikin.
Slowly the lessons proceeded again, slowly the minute hand dropped downward till it pointed to half-past. Then from thirty boy- ish souls rose a sigh of relief, slates were given up, and form after form filed eagerly out. Soon the schoolroom w.as empty, and the playground outside filled with shouts
and triad voices.
Mr. Spencer sat for a moment at Iiis desk, and now there wore no eagle eyed boys to watch him, he smiled again and again as he thought of the little excitement of the morning. "Poor little laddie" he said softly, gathering up his papers.
A little shadow fell across the sunlit
patch at the open door, the "poor little laddie " was standing there, one small sturdy lace up hoot on the threshold, one on the gravel outside.
"Well, what is it, Frederick ?" he said, | meeting the boy's earnest gaze.
" You beast, you," said Suds verjT sloAvly and emphatically, and then he turned and
lied homeward for dear lifo.
(TO BK CONTINUED.)