baby born badewanne und waschbecken
chapter i the day broke gray and dull.the clouds hung heavily, and there was a rawness in the air that suggested snow.a woman servant came into a room in which a child was sleeping and drew the curtains. she glanced mechanically at the houseopposite, a stucco house with a portico, and went to the child's bed."wake up, philip," she said. she pulled down the bed-clothes, took himin her arms, and carried him downstairs. he was only half awake."your mother wants you," she said. she opened the door of a room on the floorbelow and took the child over to a bed in
which a woman was lying.it was his mother. she stretched out her arms, and the childnestled by her side. he did not ask why he had been awakened. the woman kissed his eyes, and with thin,small hands felt the warm body through his white flannel nightgown.she pressed him closer to herself. "are you sleepy, darling?" she said. her voice was so weak that it seemed tocome already from a great distance. the child did not answer, but smiledcomfortably. he was very happy in the large, warm bed,with those soft arms about him.
he tried to make himself smaller still ashe cuddled up against his mother, and he kissed her sleepily. in a moment he closed his eyes and was fastasleep. the doctor came forwards and stood by thebed-side. "oh, don't take him away yet," she moaned. the doctor, without answering, looked ather gravely. knowing she would not be allowed to keepthe child much longer, the woman kissed him again; and she passed her hand down hisbody till she came to his feet; she held the right foot in her hand and felt the
five small toes; and then slowly passed herhand over the left one. she gave a sob."what's the matter?" said the doctor. "you're tired." she shook her head, unable to speak, andthe tears rolled down her cheeks. the doctor bent down."let me take him." she was too weak to resist his wish, andshe gave the child up. the doctor handed him back to his nurse."you'd better put him back in his own bed." "very well, sir." the little boy, still sleeping, was takenaway.
his mother sobbed now broken-heartedly."what will happen to him, poor child?" the monthly nurse tried to quiet her, andpresently, from exhaustion, the crying ceased. the doctor walked to a table on the otherside of the room, upon which, under a towel, lay the body of a still-born child.he lifted the towel and looked. he was hidden from the bed by a screen, butthe woman guessed what he was doing. "was it a girl or a boy?" she whispered tothe nurse. "another boy." the woman did not answer.in a moment the child's nurse came back.
she approached the bed."master philip never woke up," she said. there was a pause. then the doctor felt his patient's pulseonce more. "i don't think there's anything i can dojust now," he said. "i'll call again after breakfast." "i'll show you out, sir," said the child'snurse. they walked downstairs in silence.in the hall the doctor stopped. "you've sent for mrs. carey's brother-in-law, haven't you?" "yes, sir.""d'you know at what time he'll be here?"
"no, sir, i'm expecting a telegram." "what about the little boy?i should think he'd be better out of the way.""miss watkin said she'd take him, sir." "who's she?" "she's his godmother, sir.d'you think mrs. carey will get over it, sir?"the doctor shook his head. chapter ii it was a week later.philip was sitting on the floor in the drawing-room at miss watkin's house inonslow gardens.
he was an only child and used to amusinghimself. the room was filled with massive furniture,and on each of the sofas were three big cushions. there was a cushion too in each arm-chair. all these he had taken and, with the helpof the gilt rout chairs, light and easy to move, had made an elaborate cave in whichhe could hide himself from the red indians who were lurking behind the curtains. he put his ear to the floor and listened tothe herd of buffaloes that raced across the prairie.
presently, hearing the door open, he heldhis breath so that he might not be discovered; but a violent hand piled away achair and the cushions fell down. "you naughty boy, miss watkin will be crosswith you." "hulloa, emma!" he said. the nurse bent down and kissed him, thenbegan to shake out the cushions, and put them back in their places."am i to come home?" he asked. "yes, i've come to fetch you." "you've got a new dress on."it was in eighteen-eighty-five, and she wore a bustle.
her gown was of black velvet, with tightsleeves and sloping shoulders, and the skirt had three large flounces.she wore a black bonnet with velvet strings. she hesitated.the question she had expected did not come, and so she could not give the answer shehad prepared. "aren't you going to ask how your mammais?" she said at length. "oh, i forgot.how is mamma?" now she was ready. "your mamma is quite well and happy.""oh, i am glad."
"your mamma's gone away.you won't ever see her any more." philip did not know what she meant. "why not?""your mamma's in heaven." she began to cry, and philip, though he didnot quite understand, cried too. emma was a tall, big-boned woman, with fairhair and large features. she came from devonshire and,notwithstanding her many years of service in london, had never lost the breadth ofher accent. her tears increased her emotion, and shepressed the little boy to her heart. she felt vaguely the pity of that childdeprived of the only love in the world that
is quite unselfish. it seemed dreadful that he must be handedover to strangers. but in a little while she pulled herselftogether. "your uncle william is waiting in to seeyou," she said. "go and say good-bye to miss watkin, andwe'll go home." "i don't want to say good-bye," heanswered, instinctively anxious to hide his tears."very well, run upstairs and get your hat." he fetched it, and when he came down emmawas waiting for him in the hall. he heard the sound of voices in the studybehind the dining-room.
he paused. he knew that miss watkin and her sisterwere talking to friends, and it seemed to him--he was nine years old--that if he wentin they would be sorry for him. "i think i'll go and say good-bye to misswatkin." "i think you'd better," said emma."go in and tell them i'm coming," he said. he wished to make the most of hisopportunity. emma knocked at the door and walked in.he heard her speak. "master philip wants to say good-bye toyou, miss." there was a sudden hush of theconversation, and philip limped in.
henrietta watkin was a stout woman, with ared face and dyed hair. in those days to dye the hair excitedcomment, and philip had heard much gossip at home when his godmother's changedcolour. she lived with an elder sister, who hadresigned herself contentedly to old age. two ladies, whom philip did not know, werecalling, and they looked at him curiously. "my poor child," said miss watkin, openingher arms. she began to cry. philip understood now why she had not beenin to luncheon and why she wore a black dress.she could not speak.
"i've got to go home," said philip, atlast. he disengaged himself from miss watkin'sarms, and she kissed him again. then he went to her sister and bade hergood-bye too. one of the strange ladies asked if shemight kiss him, and he gravely gave her permission. though crying, he keenly enjoyed thesensation he was causing; he would have been glad to stay a little longer to bemade much of, but felt they expected him to go, so he said that emma was waiting forhim. he went out of the room.
emma had gone downstairs to speak with afriend in the basement, and he waited for her on the landing.he heard henrietta watkin's voice. "his mother was my greatest friend. i can't bear to think that she's dead.""you oughtn't to have gone to the funeral, henrietta," said her sister."i knew it would upset you." then one of the strangers spoke. "poor little boy, it's dreadful to think ofhim quite alone in the world. i see he limps.""yes, he's got a club-foot. it was such a grief to his mother."
then emma came back.they called a hansom, and she told the driver where to go. chapter iii when they reached the house mrs. carey haddied in--it was in a dreary, respectable street between notting hill gate and highstreet, kensington--emma led philip into the drawing-room. his uncle was writing letters of thanks forthe wreaths which had been sent. one of them, which had arrived too late forthe funeral, lay in its cardboard box on the hall-table.
"here's master philip," said emma.mr. carey stood up slowly and shook hands with the little boy.then on second thoughts he bent down and kissed his forehead. he was a man of somewhat less than averageheight, inclined to corpulence, with his hair, worn long, arranged over the scalp soas to conceal his baldness. he was clean-shaven. his features were regular, and it waspossible to imagine that in his youth he had been good-looking.on his watch-chain he wore a gold cross. "you're going to live with me now, philip,"said mr. carey.
"shall you like that?" two years before philip had been sent downto stay at the vicarage after an attack of chicken-pox; but there remained with him arecollection of an attic and a large garden rather than of his uncle and aunt. "yes.""you must look upon me and your aunt louisa as your father and mother."the child's mouth trembled a little, he reddened, but did not answer. "your dear mother left you in my charge."mr. carey had no great ease in expressing himself.
when the news came that his sister-in-lawwas dying, he set off at once for london, but on the way thought of nothing but thedisturbance in his life that would be caused if her death forced him to undertakethe care of her son. he was well over fifty, and his wife, towhom he had been married for thirty years, was childless; he did not look forward withany pleasure to the presence of a small boy who might be noisy and rough. he had never much liked his sister-in-law."i'm going to take you down to blackstable tomorrow," he said."with emma?" the child put his hand in hers, and shepressed it.
"i'm afraid emma must go away," said mr.carey. "but i want emma to come with me." philip began to cry, and the nurse couldnot help crying too. mr. carey looked at them helplessly."i think you'd better leave me alone with master philip for a moment." "very good, sir."though philip clung to her, she released herself gently.mr. carey took the boy on his knee and put his arm round him. "you mustn't cry," he said."you're too old to have a nurse now.
we must see about sending you to school.""i want emma to come with me," the child repeated. "it costs too much money, philip.your father didn't leave very much, and i don't know what's become of it.you must look at every penny you spend." mr. carey had called the day before on thefamily solicitor. philip's father was a surgeon in goodpractice, and his hospital appointments suggested an established position; so thatit was a surprise on his sudden death from blood-poisoning to find that he had left his widow little more than his lifeinsurance and what could be got for the
lease of their house in bruton street. this was six months ago; and mrs. carey,already in delicate health, finding herself with child, had lost her head and acceptedfor the lease the first offer that was made. she stored her furniture, and, at a rentwhich the parson thought outrageous, took a furnished house for a year, so that shemight suffer from no inconvenience till her child was born. but she had never been used to themanagement of money, and was unable to adapt her expenditure to her alteredcircumstances.
the little she had slipped through herfingers in one way and another, so that now, when all expenses were paid, not muchmore than two thousand pounds remained to support the boy till he was able to earnhis own living. it was impossible to explain all this tophilip and he was sobbing still. "you'd better go to emma," mr. carey said,feeling that she could console the child better than anyone.without a word philip slipped off his uncle's knee, but mr. carey stopped him. "we must go tomorrow, because on saturdayi've got to prepare my sermon, and you must tell emma to get your things ready today.you can bring all your toys.
and if you want anything to remember yourfather and mother by you can take one thing for each of them.everything else is going to be sold." the boy slipped out of the room. mr. carey was unused to work, and he turnedto his correspondence with resentment. on one side of the desk was a bundle ofbills, and these filled him with irritation. one especially seemed preposterous.immediately after mrs. carey's death emma had ordered from the florist masses ofwhite flowers for the room in which the dead woman lay.
it was sheer waste of money.emma took far too much upon herself. even if there had been no financialnecessity, he would have dismissed her. but philip went to her, and hid his face inher bosom, and wept as though his heart would break. and she, feeling that he was almost her ownson--she had taken him when he was a month old--consoled him with soft words. she promised that she would come and seehim sometimes, and that she would never forget him; and she told him about thecountry he was going to and about her own home in devonshire--her father kept a
turnpike on the high-road that led toexeter, and there were pigs in the sty, and there was a cow, and the cow had just had acalf--till philip forgot his tears and grew excited at the thought of his approachingjourney. presently she put him down, for there wasmuch to be done, and he helped her to lay out his clothes on the bed. she sent him into the nursery to gather uphis toys, and in a little while he was playing happily. but at last he grew tired of being aloneand went back to the bed-room, in which emma was now putting his things into a bigtin box; he remembered then that his uncle
had said he might take something toremember his father and mother by. he told emma and asked her what he shouldtake. "you'd better go into the drawing-room andsee what you fancy." "uncle william's there.""never mind that. they're your own things now." philip went downstairs slowly and found thedoor open. mr. carey had left the room.philip walked slowly round. they had been in the house so short a timethat there was little in it that had a particular interest to him.it was a stranger's room, and philip saw
nothing that struck his fancy. but he knew which were his mother's thingsand which belonged to the landlord, and presently fixed on a little clock that hehad once heard his mother say she liked. with this he walked again ratherdisconsolately upstairs. outside the door of his mother's bed-roomhe stopped and listened. though no one had told him not to go in, hehad a feeling that it would be wrong to do so; he was a little frightened, and hisheart beat uncomfortably; but at the same time something impelled him to turn thehandle. he turned it very gently, as if to preventanyone within from hearing, and then slowly
pushed the door open. he stood on the threshold for a momentbefore he had the courage to enter. he was not frightened now, but it seemedstrange. he closed the door behind him. the blinds were drawn, and the room, in thecold light of a january afternoon, was dark.on the dressing-table were mrs. carey's brushes and the hand mirror. in a little tray were hairpins.there was a photograph of himself on the chimney-piece and one of his father.
he had often been in the room when hismother was not in it, but now it seemed different.there was something curious in the look of the chairs. the bed was made as though someone weregoing to sleep in it that night, and in a case on the pillow was a night-dress. philip opened a large cupboard filled withdresses and, stepping in, took as many of them as he could in his arms and buried hisface in them. they smelt of the scent his mother used. then he pulled open the drawers, filledwith his mother's things, and looked at
them: there were lavender bags among thelinen, and their scent was fresh and pleasant. the strangeness of the room left it, and itseemed to him that his mother had just gone out for a walk.she would be in presently and would come upstairs to have nursery tea with him. and he seemed to feel her kiss on his lips.it was not true that he would never see her again.it was not true simply because it was impossible. he climbed up on the bed and put his headon the pillow.
he lay there quite still. chapter iv philip parted from emma with tears, but thejourney to blackstable amused him, and, when they arrived, he was resigned andcheerful. blackstable was sixty miles from london. giving their luggage to a porter, mr. careyset out to walk with philip to the vicarage; it took them little more thanfive minutes, and, when they reached it, philip suddenly remembered the gate. it was red and five-barred: it swung bothways on easy hinges; and it was possible,
though forbidden, to swing backwards andforwards on it. they walked through the garden to thefront-door. this was only used by visitors and onsundays, and on special occasions, as when the vicar went up to london or came back. the traffic of the house took place througha side-door, and there was a back door as well for the gardener and for beggars andtramps. it was a fairly large house of yellowbrick, with a red roof, built about five and twenty years before in anecclesiastical style. the front-door was like a church porch, andthe drawing-room windows were gothic.
mrs. carey, knowing by what train they werecoming, waited in the drawing-room and listened for the click of the gate. when she heard it she went to the door."there's aunt louisa," said mr. carey, when he saw her."run and give her a kiss." philip started to run, awkwardly, trailinghis club-foot, and then stopped. mrs. carey was a little, shrivelled womanof the same age as her husband, with a face extraordinarily filled with deep wrinkles,and pale blue eyes. her gray hair was arranged in ringletsaccording to the fashion of her youth. she wore a black dress, and her onlyornament was a gold chain, from which hung
a cross. she had a shy manner and a gentle voice."did you walk, william?" she said, almost reproachfully, as she kissed her husband."i didn't think of it," he answered, with a glance at his nephew. "it didn't hurt you to walk, philip, didit?" she asked the child. "no. i always walk."he was a little surprised at their conversation. aunt louisa told him to come in, and theyentered the hall. it was paved with red and yellow tiles, onwhich alternately were a greek cross and
the lamb of god. an imposing staircase led out of the hall.it was of polished pine, with a peculiar smell, and had been put in becausefortunately, when the church was reseated, enough wood remained over. the balusters were decorated with emblemsof the four evangelists. "i've had the stove lighted as i thoughtyou'd be cold after your journey," said mrs. carey. it was a large black stove that stood inthe hall and was only lighted if the weather was very bad and the vicar had acold.
it was not lighted if mrs. carey had acold. coal was expensive.besides, mary ann, the maid, didn't like fires all over the place. if they wanted all them fires they mustkeep a second girl. in the winter mr. and mrs. carey lived inthe dining-room so that one fire should do, and in the summer they could not get out ofthe habit, so the drawing-room was used only by mr. carey on sunday afternoons forhis nap. but every saturday he had a fire in thestudy so that he could write his sermon. aunt louisa took philip upstairs and showedhim into a tiny bed-room that looked out on
the drive. immediately in front of the window was alarge tree, which philip remembered now because the branches were so low that itwas possible to climb quite high up it. "a small room for a small boy," said mrs.carey. "you won't be frightened at sleepingalone?" "oh, no." on his first visit to the vicarage he hadcome with his nurse, and mrs. carey had had little to do with him.she looked at him now with some uncertainty.
"can you wash your own hands, or shall iwash them for you?" "i can wash myself," he answered firmly."well, i shall look at them when you come down to tea," said mrs. carey. she knew nothing about children. after it was settled that philip shouldcome down to blackstable, mrs. carey had thought much how she should treat him; shewas anxious to do her duty; but now he was there she found herself just as shy of himas he was of her. she hoped he would not be noisy and rough,because her husband did not like rough and noisy boys.
mrs. carey made an excuse to leave philipalone, but in a moment came back and knocked at the door; she asked him, withoutcoming in, if he could pour out the water then she went downstairs and rang the bellfor tea. the dining-room, large and well-proportioned, had windows on two sides of it, with heavy curtains of red rep; therewas a big table in the middle; and at one end an imposing mahogany sideboard with alooking-glass in it. in one corner stood a harmonium. on each side of the fireplace were chairscovered in stamped leather, each with an antimacassar; one had arms and was calledthe husband, and the other had none and was
called the wife. mrs. carey never sat in the arm-chair: shesaid she preferred a chair that was not too comfortable; there was always a lot to do,and if her chair had had arms she might not be so ready to leave it. mr. carey was making up the fire whenphilip came in, and he pointed out to his nephew that there were two pokers. one was large and bright and polished andunused, and was called the vicar; and the other, which was much smaller and hadevidently passed through many fires, was called the curate.
"what are we waiting for?" said mr. carey."i told mary ann to make you an egg. i thought you'd be hungry after yourjourney." mrs. carey thought the journey from londonto blackstable very tiring. she seldom travelled herself, for theliving was only three hundred a year, and, when her husband wanted a holiday, sincethere was not money for two, he went by he was very fond of church congresses andusually managed to go up to london once a year; and once he had been to paris for theexhibition, and two or three times to switzerland. mary ann brought in the egg, and they satdown.
the chair was much too low for philip, andfor a moment neither mr. carey nor his wife knew what to do. "i'll put some books under him," said maryann. she took from the top of the harmonium thelarge bible and the prayer-book from which the vicar was accustomed to read prayers,and put them on philip's chair. "oh, william, he can't sit on the bible,"said mrs. carey, in a shocked tone. "couldn't you get him some books out of thestudy?" mr. carey considered the question for aninstant. "i don't think it matters this once if youput the prayer-book on the top, mary ann,"
he said. "the book of common prayer is thecomposition of men like ourselves. it has no claim to divine authorship.""i hadn't thought of that, william," said aunt louisa. philip perched himself on the books, andthe vicar, having said grace, cut the top off his egg."there," he said, handing it to philip, "you can eat my top if you like." philip would have liked an egg to himself,but he was not offered one, so took what he could."how have the chickens been laying since i
went away?" asked the vicar. "oh, they've been dreadful, only one or twoa day." "how did you like that top, philip?" askedhis uncle. "very much, thank you." "you shall have another one on sundayafternoon." mr. carey always had a boiled egg at tea onsunday, so that he might be fortified for the evening service. chapter v philip came gradually to know the people hewas to live with, and by fragments of
conversation, some of it not meant for hisears, learned a good deal both about himself and about his dead parents. philip's father had been much younger thanthe vicar of blackstable. after a brilliant career at st. luke'shospital he was put on the staff, and presently began to earn money inconsiderable sums. he spent it freely. when the parson set about restoring hischurch and asked his brother for a subscription, he was surprised by receivinga couple of hundred pounds: mr. carey, thrifty by inclination and economical by
necessity, accepted it with mingledfeelings; he was envious of his brother because he could afford to give so much,pleased for the sake of his church, and vaguely irritated by a generosity whichseemed almost ostentatious. then henry carey married a patient, abeautiful girl but penniless, an orphan with no near relations, but of good family;and there was an array of fine friends at the wedding. the parson, on his visits to her when hecame to london, held himself with reserve. he felt shy with her and in his heart heresented her great beauty: she dressed more magnificently than became the wife of ahardworking surgeon; and the charming
furniture of her house, the flowers among which she lived even in winter, suggestedan extravagance which he deplored. he heard her talk of entertainments she wasgoing to; and, as he told his wife on getting home again, it was impossible toaccept hospitality without making some return. he had seen grapes in the dining-room thatmust have cost at least eight shillings a pound; and at luncheon he had been givenasparagus two months before it was ready in the vicarage garden. now all he had anticipated was come topass: the vicar felt the satisfaction of
the prophet who saw fire and brimstoneconsume the city which would not mend its way to his warning. poor philip was practically penniless, andwhat was the good of his mother's fine friends now? he heard that his father's extravagance wasreally criminal, and it was a mercy that providence had seen fit to take his dearmother to itself: she had no more idea of money than a child. when philip had been a week at blackstablean incident happened which seemed to irritate his uncle very much.
one morning he found on the breakfast tablea small packet which had been sent on by post from the late mrs. carey's house inlondon. it was addressed to her. when the parson opened it he found a dozenphotographs of mrs. carey. they showed the head and shoulders only,and her hair was more plainly done than usual, low on the forehead, which gave heran unusual look; the face was thin and worn, but no illness could impair thebeauty of her features. there was in the large dark eyes a sadnesswhich philip did not remember. the first sight of the dead woman gave mr.carey a little shock, but this was quickly
followed by perplexity.the photographs seemed quite recent, and he could not imagine who had ordered them. "d'you know anything about these, philip?"he asked. "i remember mamma said she'd been taken,"he answered. "miss watkin scolded her.... she said: i wanted the boy to havesomething to remember me by when he grows up."mr. carey looked at philip for an instant. the child spoke in a clear treble. he recalled the words, but they meantnothing to him.
"you'd better take one of the photographsand keep it in your room," said mr. carey. "i'll put the others away." he sent one to miss watkin, and she wroteand explained how they came to be taken. one day mrs. carey was lying in bed, butshe was feeling a little better than usual, and the doctor in the morning had seemedhopeful; emma had taken the child out, and the maids were downstairs in the basement: suddenly mrs. carey felt desperately alonein the world. a great fear seized her that she would notrecover from the confinement which she was expecting in a fortnight.
her son was nine years old.how could he be expected to remember her? she could not bear to think that he wouldgrow up and forget, forget her utterly; and she had loved him so passionately, becausehe was weakly and deformed, and because he was her child. she had no photographs of herself takensince her marriage, and that was ten years before.she wanted her son to know what she looked like at the end. he could not forget her then, not forgetutterly. she knew that if she called her maid andtold her she wanted to get up, the maid
would prevent her, and perhaps send for thedoctor, and she had not the strength now to struggle or argue. she got out of bed and began to dressherself. she had been on her back so long that herlegs gave way beneath her, and then the soles of her feet tingled so that she couldhardly bear to put them to the ground. but she went on. she was unused to doing her own hair and,when she raised her arms and began to brush it, she felt faint.she could never do it as her maid did. it was beautiful hair, very fine, and of adeep rich gold.
her eyebrows were straight and dark. she put on a black skirt, but chose thebodice of the evening dress which she liked best: it was of a white damask which wasfashionable in those days. she looked at herself in the glass. her face was very pale, but her skin wasclear: she had never had much colour, and this had always made the redness of herbeautiful mouth emphatic. she could not restrain a sob. but she could not afford to be sorry forherself; she was feeling already desperately tired; and she put on the furswhich henry had given her the christmas
before--she had been so proud of them and so happy then--and slipped downstairs withbeating heart. she got safely out of the house and droveto a photographer. she paid for a dozen photographs. she was obliged to ask for a glass of waterin the middle of the sitting; and the assistant, seeing she was ill, suggestedthat she should come another day, but she insisted on staying till the end. at last it was finished, and she drove backagain to the dingy little house in kensington which she hated with all herheart.
it was a horrible house to die in. she found the front door open, and when shedrove up the maid and emma ran down the steps to help her.they had been frightened when they found her room empty. at first they thought she must have gone tomiss watkin, and the cook was sent round. miss watkin came back with her and waswaiting anxiously in the drawing-room. she came downstairs now full of anxiety andreproaches; but the exertion had been more than mrs. carey was fit for, and when theoccasion for firmness no longer existed she gave way.
she fell heavily into emma's arms and wascarried upstairs. she remained unconscious for a time thatseemed incredibly long to those that watched her, and the doctor, hurriedly sentfor, did not come. it was next day, when she was a littlebetter, that miss watkin got some explanation out of her. philip was playing on the floor of hismother's bed-room, and neither of the ladies paid attention to him. he only understood vaguely what they weretalking about, and he could not have said why those words remained in his memory."i wanted the boy to have something to
remember me by when he grows up." "i can't make out why she ordered a dozen,"said mr. carey. "two would have done." chapter vi one day was very like another at thevicarage. soon after breakfast mary ann brought inthe times. mr. carey shared it with two neighbours. he had it from ten till one, when thegardener took it over to mr. ellis at the limes, with whom it remained till seven;then it was taken to miss brooks at the
manor house, who, since she got it late,had the advantage of keeping it. in summer mrs. carey, when she was makingjam, often asked her for a copy to cover the pots with. when the vicar settled down to his paperhis wife put on her bonnet and went out to do the shopping.philip accompanied her. blackstable was a fishing village. it consisted of a high street in which werethe shops, the bank, the doctor's house, and the houses of two or three coalshipowners; round the little harbor were shabby streets in which lived fishermen and poor
people; but since they went to chapel theywere of no account. when mrs. carey passed the dissentingministers in the street she stepped over to the other side to avoid meeting them, butif there was not time for this fixed her eyes on the pavement. it was a scandal to which the vicar hadnever resigned himself that there were three chapels in the high street: he couldnot help feeling that the law should have stepped in to prevent their erection. shopping in blackstable was not a simplematter; for dissent, helped by the fact that the parish church was two miles fromthe town, was very common; and it was
necessary to deal only with churchgoers; mrs. carey knew perfectly that the vicaragecustom might make all the difference to a tradesman's faith. there were two butchers who went to church,and they would not understand that the vicar could not deal with both of them atonce; nor were they satisfied with his simple plan of going for six months to oneand for six months to the other. the butcher who was not sending meat to thevicarage constantly threatened not to come to church, and the vicar was sometimesobliged to make a threat: it was very wrong of him not to come to church, but if he
carried iniquity further and actually wentto chapel, then of course, excellent as his meat was, mr. carey would be forced toleave him for ever. mrs. carey often stopped at the bank todeliver a message to josiah graves, the manager, who was choir-master, treasurer,and churchwarden. he was a tall, thin man with a sallow faceand a long nose; his hair was very white, and to philip he seemed extremely old. he kept the parish accounts, arranged thetreats for the choir and the schools; though there was no organ in the parishchurch, it was generally considered (in blackstable) that the choir he led was the
best in kent; and when there was anyceremony, such as a visit from the bishop for confirmation or from the rural dean topreach at the harvest thanksgiving, he made the necessary preparations. but he had no hesitation in doing allmanner of things without more than a perfunctory consultation with the vicar,and the vicar, though always ready to be saved trouble, much resented thechurchwarden's managing ways. he really seemed to look upon himself asthe most important person in the parish. mr. carey constantly told his wife that ifjosiah graves did not take care he would give him a good rap over the knuckles oneday; but mrs. carey advised him to bear
with josiah graves: he meant well, and it was not his fault if he was not quite agentleman. the vicar, finding his comfort in thepractice of a christian virtue, exercised forbearance; but he revenged himself bycalling the churchwarden bismarck behind his back. once there had been a serious quarrelbetween the pair, and mrs. carey still thought of that anxious time with dismay. the conservative candidate had announcedhis intention of addressing a meeting at blackstable; and josiah graves, havingarranged that it should take place in the
mission hall, went to mr. carey and toldhim that he hoped he would say a few words. it appeared that the candidate had askedjosiah graves to take the chair. this was more than mr. carey could put upwith. he had firm views upon the respect whichwas due to the cloth, and it was ridiculous for a churchwarden to take the chair at ameeting when the vicar was there. he reminded josiah graves that parson meantperson, that is, the vicar was the person of the parish. josiah graves answered that he was thefirst to recognise the dignity of the church, but this was a matter of politics,and in his turn he reminded the vicar that
their blessed saviour had enjoined upon them to render unto caesar the things thatwere caesar's. to this mr. carey replied that the devilcould quote scripture to his purpose, himself had sole authority over the missionhall, and if he were not asked to be chairman he would refuse the use of it fora political meeting. josiah graves told mr. carey that he mightdo as he chose, and for his part he thought the wesleyan chapel would be an equallysuitable place. then mr. carey said that if josiah gravesset foot in what was little better than a heathen temple he was not fit to bechurchwarden in a christian parish.
josiah graves thereupon resigned all hisoffices, and that very evening sent to the church for his cassock and surplice. his sister, miss graves, who kept house forhim, gave up her secretaryship of the maternity club, which provided the pregnantpoor with flannel, baby linen, coals, and five shillings. mr. carey said he was at last master in hisown house. but soon he found that he was obliged tosee to all sorts of things that he knew nothing about; and josiah graves, after thefirst moment of irritation, discovered that he had lost his chief interest in life.
mrs. carey and miss graves were muchdistressed by the quarrel; they met after a discreet exchange of letters, and made uptheir minds to put the matter right: they talked, one to her husband, the other to her brother, from morning till night; andsince they were persuading these gentlemen to do what in their hearts they wanted,after three weeks of anxiety a reconciliation was effected. it was to both their interests, but theyascribed it to a common love for their redeemer.the meeting was held at the mission hall, and the doctor was asked to be chairman.
mr. carey and josiah graves both madespeeches. when mrs. carey had finished her businesswith the banker, she generally went upstairs to have a little chat with hissister; and while the ladies talked of parish matters, the curate or the new bonnet of mrs. wilson--mr. wilson was therichest man in blackstable, he was thought to have at least five hundred a year, andhe had married his cook--philip sat demurely in the stiff parlour, used only to receive visitors, and busied himself withthe restless movements of goldfish in a bowl.
the windows were never opened except to airthe room for a few minutes in the morning, and it had a stuffy smell which seemed tophilip to have a mysterious connection with banking. then mrs. carey remembered that she had togo to the grocer, and they continued their way. when the shopping was done they often wentdown a side street of little houses, mostly of wood, in which fishermen dwelt (and hereand there a fisherman sat on his doorstep mending his nets, and nets hung to dry upon the doors), till they came to a smallbeach, shut in on each side by warehouses,
but with a view of the sea. mrs. carey stood for a few minutes andlooked at it, it was turbid and yellow, [and who knows what thoughts passed throughher mind?] while philip searched for flat stones to play ducks and drakes. then they walked slowly back.they looked into the post office to get the right time, nodded to mrs. wigram thedoctor's wife, who sat at her window sewing, and so got home. dinner was at one o'clock; and on monday,tuesday, and wednesday it consisted of beef, roast, hashed, and minced, and onthursday, friday, and saturday of mutton.
on sunday they ate one of their ownchickens. in the afternoon philip did his lessons, hewas taught latin and mathematics by his uncle who knew neither, and french and thepiano by his aunt. of french she was ignorant, but she knewthe piano well enough to accompany the old- fashioned songs she had sung for thirtyyears. uncle william used to tell philip that whenhe was a curate his wife had known twelve songs by heart, which she could sing at amoment's notice whenever she was asked. she often sang still when there was a tea-party at the vicarage. there were few people whom the careys caredto ask there, and their parties consisted
always of the curate, josiah graves withhis sister, dr. wigram and his wife. after tea miss graves played one or two ofmendelssohn's songs without words, and mrs. carey sang when the swallows homeward fly,or trot, trot, my pony. but the careys did not give tea-partiesoften; the preparations upset them, and when their guests were gone they feltthemselves exhausted. they preferred to have tea by themselves,and after tea they played backgammon. mrs. carey arranged that her husband shouldwin, because he did not like losing. they had cold supper at eight. it was a scrappy meal because mary annresented getting anything ready after tea,
and mrs. carey helped to clear away. mrs. carey seldom ate more than bread andbutter, with a little stewed fruit to follow, but the vicar had a slice of coldmeat. immediately after supper mrs. carey rangthe bell for prayers, and then philip went to bed. he rebelled against being undressed by maryann and after a while succeeded in establishing his right to dress and undresshimself. at nine o'clock mary ann brought in theeggs and the plate. mrs. carey wrote the date on each egg andput the number down in a book.
she then took the plate-basket on her armand went upstairs. mr. carey continued to read one of his oldbooks, but as the clock struck ten he got up, put out the lamps, and followed hiswife to bed. when philip arrived there was somedifficulty in deciding on which evening he should have his bath. it was never easy to get plenty of hotwater, since the kitchen boiler did not work, and it was impossible for two personsto have a bath on the same day. the only man who had a bathroom inblackstable was mr. wilson, and it was thought ostentatious of him.
mary ann had her bath in the kitchen onmonday night, because she liked to begin the week clean. uncle william could not have his onsaturday, because he had a heavy day before him and he was always a little tired aftera bath, so he had it on friday. mrs. carey had hers on thursday for thesame reason. it looked as though saturday were naturallyindicated for philip, but mary ann said she couldn't keep the fire up on saturdaynight: what with all the cooking on sunday, having to make pastry and she didn't know what all, she did not feel up to giving theboy his bath on saturday night; and it was
quite clear that he could not bath himself.mrs. carey was shy about bathing a boy, and of course the vicar had his sermon. but the vicar insisted that philip shouldbe clean and sweet for the lord's day. mary ann said she would rather go than beput upon--and after eighteen years she didn't expect to have more work given her,and they might show some consideration--and philip said he didn't want anyone to bathhim, but could very well bath himself. this settled it. mary ann said she was quite sure hewouldn't bath himself properly, and rather than he should go dirty--and not because hewas going into the presence of the lord,
but because she couldn't abide a boy who wasn't properly washed--she'd work herselfto the bone even if it was saturday night. > chapter vii sunday was a day crowded with incident.mr. carey was accustomed to say that he was the only man in his parish who worked sevendays a week. the household got up half an hour earlierthan usual. no lying abed for a poor parson on the dayof rest, mr. carey remarked as mary ann knocked at the door punctually at eight.
it took mrs. carey longer to dress, and shegot down to breakfast at nine, a little breathless, only just before her husband.mr. carey's boots stood in front of the fire to warm. prayers were longer than usual, and thebreakfast more substantial. after breakfast the vicar cut thin slicesof bread for the communion, and philip was privileged to cut off the crust. he was sent to the study to fetch a marblepaperweight, with which mr. carey pressed the bread till it was thin and pulpy, andthen it was cut into small squares. the amount was regulated by the weather.
on a very bad day few people came tochurch, and on a very fine one, though many came, few stayed for communion. there were most when it was dry enough tomake the walk to church pleasant, but not so fine that people wanted to hurry away. then mrs. carey brought the communion plateout of the safe, which stood in the pantry, and the vicar polished it with a chamoisleather. at ten the fly drove up, and mr. carey gotinto his boots. mrs. carey took several minutes to put onher bonnet, during which the vicar, in a voluminous cloak, stood in the hall withjust such an expression on his face as
would have become an early christian aboutto be led into the arena. it was extraordinary that after thirtyyears of marriage his wife could not be ready in time on sunday morning. at last she came, in black satin; the vicardid not like colours in a clergyman's wife at any time, but on sundays he wasdetermined that she should wear black; now and then, in conspiracy with miss graves, she ventured a white feather or a pink rosein her bonnet, but the vicar insisted that it should disappear; he said he would notgo to church with the scarlet woman: mrs. carey sighed as a woman but obeyed as awife.
they were about to step into the carriagewhen the vicar remembered that no one had given him his egg. they knew that he must have an egg for hisvoice, there were two women in the house, and no one had the least regard for hiscomfort. mrs. carey scolded mary ann, and mary annanswered that she could not think of everything.she hurried away to fetch an egg, and mrs. carey beat it up in a glass of sherry. the vicar swallowed it at a gulp.the communion plate was stowed in the carriage, and they set off.the fly came from the red lion and had a
peculiar smell of stale straw. they drove with both windows closed so thatthe vicar should not catch cold. the sexton was waiting at the porch to takethe communion plate, and while the vicar went to the vestry mrs. carey and philipsettled themselves in the vicarage pew. mrs. carey placed in front of her thesixpenny bit she was accustomed to put in the plate, and gave philip threepence forthe same purpose. the church filled up gradually and theservice began. philip grew bored during the sermon, but ifhe fidgetted mrs. carey put a gentle hand on his arm and looked at him reproachfully.
he regained interest when the final hymnwas sung and mr. graves passed round with the plate. when everyone had gone mrs. carey went intomiss graves' pew to have a few words with her while they were waiting for thegentlemen, and philip went to the vestry. his uncle, the curate, and mr. graves werestill in their surplices. mr. carey gave him the remains of theconsecrated bread and told him he might eat it. he had been accustomed to eat it himself,as it seemed blasphemous to throw it away, but philip's keen appetite relieved himfrom the duty.
then they counted the money. it consisted of pennies, sixpences andthreepenny bits. there were always two single shillings, oneput in the plate by the vicar and the other by mr. graves; and sometimes there was aflorin. mr. graves told the vicar who had giventhis. it was always a stranger to blackstable,and mr. carey wondered who he was. but miss graves had observed the rash actand was able to tell mrs. carey that the stranger came from london, was married andhad children. during the drive home mrs. carey passed theinformation on, and the vicar made up his
mind to call on him and ask for asubscription to the additional curates society. mr. carey asked if philip had behavedproperly; and mrs. carey remarked that mrs. wigram had a new mantle, mr. cox was not inchurch, and somebody thought that miss phillips was engaged. when they reached the vicarage they allfelt that they deserved a substantial dinner. when this was over mrs. carey went to herroom to rest, and mr. carey lay down on the sofa in the drawing-room for forty winks.they had tea at five, and the vicar ate an
egg to support himself for evensong. mrs. carey did not go to this so that maryann might, but she read the service through and the hymns.mr. carey walked to church in the evening, and philip limped along by his side. the walk through the darkness along thecountry road strangely impressed him, and the church with all its lights in thedistance, coming gradually nearer, seemed very friendly. at first he was shy with his uncle, butlittle by little grew used to him, and he would slip his hand in his uncle's and walkmore easily for the feeling of protection.
they had supper when they got home. mr. carey's slippers were waiting for himon a footstool in front of the fire and by their side philip's, one the shoe of asmall boy, the other misshapen and odd. he was dreadfully tired when he went up tobed, and he did not resist when mary ann undressed him.she kissed him after she tucked him up, and he began to love her. chapter viii philip had led always the solitary life ofan only child, and his loneliness at the vicarage was no greater than it had beenwhen his mother lived.
he made friends with mary ann. she was a chubby little person of thirty-five, the daughter of a fisherman, and had come to the vicarage at eighteen; it washer first place and she had no intention of leaving it; but she held a possible marriage as a rod over the timid heads ofher master and mistress. her father and mother lived in a littlehouse off harbour street, and she went to see them on her evenings out. her stories of the sea touched philip'simagination, and the narrow alleys round the harbour grew rich with the romancewhich his young fancy lent them.
one evening he asked whether he might gohome with her; but his aunt was afraid that he might catch something, and his unclesaid that evil communications corrupted good manners. he disliked the fisher folk, who wererough, uncouth, and went to chapel. but philip was more comfortable in thekitchen than in the dining-room, and, whenever he could, he took his toys andplayed there. his aunt was not sorry. she did not like disorder, and though sherecognised that boys must be expected to be untidy she preferred that he should make amess in the kitchen.
if he fidgeted his uncle was apt to growrestless and say it was high time he went to school. mrs. carey thought philip very young forthis, and her heart went out to the motherless child; but her attempts to gainhis affection were awkward, and the boy, feeling shy, received her demonstrations with so much sullenness that she wasmortified. sometimes she heard his shrill voice raisedin laughter in the kitchen, but when she went in, he grew suddenly silent, and heflushed darkly when mary ann explained the joke.
mrs. carey could not see anything amusingin what she heard, and she smiled with constraint. "he seems happier with mary ann than withus, william," she said, when she returned to her sewing."one can see he's been very badly brought up. he wants licking into shape."on the second sunday after philip arrived an unlucky incident occurred. mr. carey had retired as usual after dinnerfor a little snooze in the drawing-room, but he was in an irritable mood and couldnot sleep.
josiah graves that morning had objectedstrongly to some candlesticks with which the vicar had adorned the altar. he had bought them second-hand intercanbury, and he thought they looked very well.but josiah graves said they were popish. this was a taunt that always aroused thevicar. he had been at oxford during the movementwhich ended in the secession from the established church of edward manning, andhe felt a certain sympathy for the church of rome. he would willingly have made the servicemore ornate than had been usual in the low-
church parish of blackstable, and in hissecret soul he yearned for processions and lighted candles. he drew the line at incense.he hated the word protestant. he called himself a catholic. he was accustomed to say that papistsrequired an epithet, they were roman catholic; but the church of england wascatholic in the best, the fullest, and the noblest sense of the term. he was pleased to think that his shavenface gave him the look of a priest, and in his youth he had possessed an ascetic airwhich added to the impression.
he often related that on one of hisholidays in boulogne, one of those holidays upon which his wife for economy's sake didnot accompany him, when he was sitting in a church, the cure had come up to him andinvited him to preach a sermon. he dismissed his curates when they married,having decided views on the celibacy of the unbeneficed clergy. but when at an election the liberals hadwritten on his garden fence in large blue letters: this way to rome, he had been veryangry, and threatened to prosecute the leaders of the liberal party inblackstable. he made up his mind now that nothing josiahgraves said would induce him to remove the
candlesticks from the altar, and hemuttered bismarck to himself once or twice irritably. suddenly he heard an unexpected noise.he pulled the handkerchief off his face, got up from the sofa on which he was lying,and went into the dining-room. philip was seated on the table with all hisbricks around him. he had built a monstrous castle, and somedefect in the foundation had just brought the structure down in noisy ruin. "what are you doing with those bricks,philip? you know you're not allowed to play gameson sunday."
philip stared at him for a moment withfrightened eyes, and, as his habit was, flushed deeply."i always used to play at home," he answered. "i'm sure your dear mamma never allowed youto do such a wicked thing as that." philip did not know it was wicked; but ifit was, he did not wish it to be supposed that his mother had consented to it. he hung his head and did not answer."don't you know it's very, very wicked to play on sunday?what d'you suppose it's called the day of rest for?
you're going to church tonight, and how canyou face your maker when you've been breaking one of his laws in the afternoon?" mr. carey told him to put the bricks awayat once, and stood over him while philip did so."you're a very naughty boy," he repeated. "think of the grief you're causing yourpoor mother in heaven." philip felt inclined to cry, but he had aninstinctive disinclination to letting other people see his tears, and he clenched histeeth to prevent the sobs from escaping. mr. carey sat down in his arm-chair andbegan to turn over the pages of a book. philip stood at the window.
the vicarage was set back from the highroadto tercanbury, and from the dining-room one saw a semicircular strip of lawn and thenas far as the horizon green fields. sheep were grazing in them. the sky was forlorn and gray.philip felt infinitely unhappy. presently mary ann came in to lay the tea,and aunt louisa descended the stairs. "have you had a nice little nap, william?"she asked. "no," he answered."philip made so much noise that i couldn't sleep a wink." this was not quite accurate, for he hadbeen kept awake by his own thoughts; and
philip, listening sullenly, reflected thathe had only made a noise once, and there was no reason why his uncle should not haveslept before or after. when mrs. carey asked for an explanationthe vicar narrated the facts. "he hasn't even said he was sorry," hefinished. "oh, philip, i'm sure you're sorry," saidmrs. carey, anxious that the child should not seem wickeder to his uncle than needbe. philip did not reply. he went on munching his bread and butter.he did not know what power it was in him that prevented him from making anyexpression of regret.
he felt his ears tingling, he was a littleinclined to cry, but no word would issue from his lips."you needn't make it worse by sulking," said mr. carey. tea was finished in silence.mrs. carey looked at philip surreptitiously now and then, but the vicar elaboratelyignored him. when philip saw his uncle go upstairs toget ready for church he went into the hall and got his hat and coat, but when thevicar came downstairs and saw him, he said: "i don't wish you to go to church tonight,philip. i don't think you're in a proper frame ofmind to enter the house of god."
philip did not say a word. he felt it was a deep humiliation that wasplaced upon him, and his cheeks reddened. he stood silently watching his uncle put onhis broad hat and his voluminous cloak. mrs. carey as usual went to the door to seehim off. then she turned to philip. "never mind, philip, you won't be a naughtyboy next sunday, will you, and then your uncle will take you to church with him inthe evening." she took off his hat and coat, and led himinto the dining-room. "shall you and i read the service together,philip, and we'll sing the hymns at the
harmonium. would you like that?"philip shook his head decidedly. mrs. carey was taken aback. if he would not read the evening servicewith her she did not know what to do with him."then what would you like to do until your uncle comes back?" she asked helplessly. philip broke his silence at last."i want to be left alone," he said. "philip, how can you say anything sounkind? don't you know that your uncle and i onlywant your good?
don't you love me at all?""i hate you. i wish you was dead." mrs. carey gasped.he said the words so savagely that it gave her quite a start.she had nothing to say. she sat down in her husband's chair; and asshe thought of her desire to love the friendless, crippled boy and her eager wishthat he should love her--she was a barren woman and, even though it was clearly god's will that she should be childless, shecould scarcely bear to look at little children sometimes, her heart ached so--thetears rose to her eyes and one by one,
slowly, rolled down her cheeks. philip watched her in amazement.she took out her handkerchief, and now she cried without restraint. suddenly philip realised that she wascrying because of what he had said, and he was sorry.he went up to her silently and kissed her. it was the first kiss he had ever given herwithout being asked. and the poor lady, so small in her blacksatin, shrivelled up and sallow, with her funny corkscrew curls, took the little boyon her lap and put her arms around him and wept as though her heart would break.
but her tears were partly tears ofhappiness, for she felt that the strangeness between them was gone.she loved him now with a new love because he had made her suffer. chapter ix on the following sunday, when the vicar wasmaking his preparations to go into the drawing-room for his nap--all the actionsof his life were conducted with ceremony-- and mrs. carey was about to go upstairs,philip asked: "what shall i do if i'm not allowed toplay?" "can't you sit still for once and bequiet?"
"i can't sit still till tea-time." mr. carey looked out of the window, but itwas cold and raw, and he could not suggest that philip should go into the garden."i know what you can do. you can learn by heart the collect for theday." he took the prayer-book which was used forprayers from the harmonium, and turned the pages till he came to the place he wanted. "it's not a long one.if you can say it without a mistake when i come in to tea you shall have the top of myegg." mrs. carey drew up philip's chair to thedining-room table--they had bought him a
high chair by now--and placed the book infront of him. "the devil finds work for idle hands todo," said mr. carey. he put some more coals on the fire so thatthere should be a cheerful blaze when he came in to tea, and went into the drawing-room. he loosened his collar, arranged thecushions, and settled himself comfortably on the sofa. but thinking the drawing-room a littlechilly, mrs. carey brought him a rug from the hall; she put it over his legs andtucked it round his feet. she drew the blinds so that the lightshould not offend his eyes, and since he
had closed them already went out of theroom on tiptoe. the vicar was at peace with himself today,and in ten minutes he was asleep. he snored softly. it was the sixth sunday after epiphany, andthe collect began with the words: o god, whose blessed son was manifested that hemight destroy the works of the devil, and make us the sons of god, and heirs ofeternal life. philip read it through.he could make no sense of it. he began saying the words aloud to himself,but many of them were unknown to him, and the construction of the sentence wasstrange.
he could not get more than two lines in hishead. and his attention was constantly wandering:there were fruit trees trained on the walls of the vicarage, and a long twig beat nowand then against the windowpane; sheep grazed stolidly in the field beyond thegarden. it seemed as though there were knots insidehis brain. then panic seized him that he would notknow the words by tea-time, and he kept on whispering them to himself quickly; he didnot try to understand, but merely to get them parrot-like into his memory. mrs. carey could not sleep that afternoon,and by four o'clock she was so wide awake
that she came downstairs. she thought she would hear philip hiscollect so that he should make no mistakes when he said it to his uncle. his uncle then would be pleased; he wouldsee that the boy's heart was in the right place. but when mrs. carey came to the dining-roomand was about to go in, she heard a sound that made her stop suddenly.her heart gave a little jump. she turned away and quietly slipped out ofthe front-door. she walked round the house till she came tothe dining-room window and then cautiously
looked in. philip was still sitting on the chair shehad put him in, but his head was on the table buried in his arms, and he wassobbing desperately. she saw the convulsive movement of hisshoulders. mrs. carey was frightened.a thing that had always struck her about the child was that he seemed so collected. she had never seen him cry.and now she realised that his calmness was some instinctive shame of showing hisfillings: he hid himself to weep. without thinking that her husband dislikedbeing wakened suddenly, she burst into the
drawing-room."william, william," she said. "the boy's crying as though his heart wouldbreak." mr. carey sat up and disentangled himselffrom the rug about his legs. "what's he got to cry about?" "i don't know....oh, william, we can't let the boy be unhappy.d'you think it's our fault? if we'd had children we'd have known whatto do." mr. carey looked at her in perplexity.he felt extraordinarily helpless. "he can't be crying because i gave him thecollect to learn.
it's not more than ten lines.""don't you think i might take him some picture books to look at, william? there are some of the holy land.there couldn't be anything wrong in that." "very well, i don't mind."mrs. carey went into the study. to collect books was mr. carey's onlypassion, and he never went into tercanbury without spending an hour or two in thesecond-hand shop; he always brought back four or five musty volumes. he never read them, for he had long lostthe habit of reading, but he liked to turn the pages, look at the illustrations ifthey were illustrated, and mend the
bindings. he welcomed wet days because on them hecould stay at home without pangs of conscience and spend the afternoon withwhite of egg and a glue-pot, patching up the russia leather of some battered quarto. he had many volumes of old travels, withsteel engravings, and mrs. carey quickly found two which described palestine. she coughed elaborately at the door so thatphilip should have time to compose himself, she felt that he would be humiliated if shecame upon him in the midst of his tears, then she rattled the door handle.
when she went in philip was poring over theprayer-book, hiding his eyes with his hands so that she might not see he had beencrying. "do you know the collect yet?" she said. he did not answer for a moment, and shefelt that he did not trust his voice. she was oddly embarrassed."i can't learn it by heart," he said at last, with a gasp. "oh, well, never mind," she said."you needn't. i've got some picture books for you to lookat. come and sit on my lap, and we'll look atthem together."
philip slipped off his chair and limpedover to her. he looked down so that she should not seehis eyes. she put her arms round him."look," she said, "that's the place where our blessed lord was born." she showed him an eastern town with flatroofs and cupolas and minarets. in the foreground was a group of palm-trees, and under them were resting two arabs and some camels. philip passed his hand over the picture asif he wanted to feel the houses and the loose habiliments of the nomads."read what it says," he asked.
mrs. carey in her even voice read theopposite page. it was a romantic narrative of some easterntraveller of the thirties, pompous maybe, but fragrant with the emotion with whichthe east came to the generation that followed byron and chateaubriand. in a moment or two philip interrupted her."i want to see another picture." when mary ann came in and mrs. carey roseto help her lay the cloth. philip took the book in his hands andhurried through the illustrations. it was with difficulty that his auntinduced him to put the book down for tea. he had forgotten his horrible struggle toget the collect by heart; he had forgotten
his tears.next day it was raining, and he asked for the book again. mrs. carey gave it him joyfully. talking over his future with her husbandshe had found that both desired him to take orders, and this eagerness for the bookwhich described places hallowed by the presence of jesus seemed a good sign. it looked as though the boy's mindaddressed itself naturally to holy things. but in a day or two he asked for morebooks. mr. carey took him into his study, showedhim the shelf in which he kept illustrated
works, and chose for him one that dealtwith rome. philip took it greedily. the pictures led him to a new amusement.he began to read the page before and the page after each engraving to find out whatit was about, and soon he lost all interest in his toys. then, when no one was near, he took outbooks for himself; and perhaps because the first impression on his mind was made by aneastern town, he found his chief amusement in those which described the levant. his heart beat with excitement at thepictures of mosques and rich palaces; but
there was one, in a book on constantinople,which peculiarly stirred his imagination. it was called the hall of the thousandcolumns. it was a byzantine cistern, which thepopular fancy had endowed with fantastic vastness; and the legend which he read toldthat a boat was always moored at the entrance to tempt the unwary, but no traveller venturing into the darkness hadever been seen again. and philip wondered whether the boat wenton for ever through one pillared alley after another or came at last to somestrange mansion. one day a good fortune befell him, for hehit upon lane's translation of the thousand
nights and a night. he was captured first by the illustrations,and then he began to read, to start with, the stories that dealt with magic, and thenthe others; and those he liked he read again and again. he could think of nothing else.he forgot the life about him. he had to be called two or three timesbefore he would come to his dinner. insensibly he formed the most delightfulhabit in the world, the habit of reading: he did not know that thus he was providinghimself with a refuge from all the distress of life; he did not know either that he was
creating for himself an unreal world whichwould make the real world of every day a source of bitter disappointment.presently he began to read other things. his brain was precocious. his uncle and aunt, seeing that he occupiedhimself and neither worried nor made a noise, ceased to trouble themselves abouthim. mr. carey had so many books that he did notknow them, and as he read little he forgot the odd lots he had bought at one time andanother because they were cheap. haphazard among the sermons and homilies,the travels, the lives of the saints, the fathers, the histories of the church, wereold-fashioned novels; and these philip at
last discovered. he chose them by their titles, and thefirst he read was the lancashire witches, and then he read the admirable crichton,and then many more. whenever he started a book with twosolitary travellers riding along the brink of a desperate ravine he knew he was safe. the summer was come now, and the gardener,an old sailor, made him a hammock and fixed it up for him in the branches of a weepingwillow. and here for long hours he lay, hidden fromanyone who might come to the vicarage, reading, reading passionately.
time passed and it was july; august came:on sundays the church was crowded with strangers, and the collection at theoffertory often amounted to two pounds. neither the vicar nor mrs. carey went outof the garden much during this period; for they disliked strange faces, and theylooked upon the visitors from london with aversion. the house opposite was taken for six weeksby a gentleman who had two little boys, and he sent in to ask if philip would like togo and play with them; but mrs. carey returned a polite refusal. she was afraid that philip would becorrupted by little boys from london.
he was going to be a clergyman, and it wasnecessary that he should be preserved from contamination. she liked to see in him an infant samuel. chapter x the careys made up their minds to sendphilip to king's school at tercanbury. the neighbouring clergy sent their sonsthere. it was united by long tradition to thecathedral: its headmaster was an honorary canon, and a past headmaster was thearchdeacon. boys were encouraged there to aspire toholy orders, and the education was such as
might prepare an honest lad to spend hislife in god's service. a preparatory school was attached to it,and to this it was arranged that philip should go. mr. carey took him into tercanbury onethursday afternoon towards the end of september.all day philip had been excited and rather frightened. he knew little of school life but what hehad read in the stories of the boy's own paper.he had also read eric, or little by little. when they got out of the train attercanbury, philip felt sick with
apprehension, and during the drive in tothe town sat pale and silent. the high brick wall in front of the schoolgave it the look of a prison. there was a little door in it, which openedon their ringing; and a clumsy, untidy man came out and fetched philip's tin trunk andhis play-box. they were shown into the drawing-room; itwas filled with massive, ugly furniture, and the chairs of the suite were placedround the walls with a forbidding rigidity. they waited for the headmaster. "what's mr. watson like?" asked philip,after a while. "you'll see for yourself."there was another pause.
mr. carey wondered why the headmaster didnot come. presently philip made an effort and spokeagain. "tell him i've got a club-foot," he said. before mr. carey could speak the door burstopen and mr. watson swept into the room. to philip he seemed gigantic. he was a man of over six feet high, andbroad, with enormous hands and a great red beard; he talked loudly in a jovial manner;but his aggressive cheerfulness struck terror in philip's heart. he shook hands with mr. carey, and thentook philip's small hand in his.
"well, young fellow, are you glad to cometo school?" he shouted. philip reddened and found no word toanswer. "how old are you?""nine," said philip. "you must say sir," said his uncle. "i expect you've got a good lot to learn,"the headmaster bellowed cheerily. to give the boy confidence he began totickle him with rough fingers. philip, feeling shy and uncomfortable,squirmed under his touch. "i've put him in the small dormitory forthe present.... you'll like that, won't you?" he added tophilip.
"only eight of you in there.you won't feel so strange." then the door opened, and mrs. watson camein. she was a dark woman with black hair,neatly parted in the middle. she had curiously thick lips and a smallround nose. her eyes were large and black.there was a singular coldness in her appearance. she seldom spoke and smiled more seldomstill. her husband introduced mr. carey to her,and then gave philip a friendly push towards her.
"this is a new boy, helen, his name'scarey." without a word she shook hands with philipand then sat down, not speaking, while the headmaster asked mr. carey how much philipknew and what books he had been working with. the vicar of blackstable was a littleembarrassed by mr. watson's boisterous heartiness, and in a moment or two got up."i think i'd better leave philip with you now." "that's all right," said mr. watson."he'll be safe with me. he'll get on like a house on fire.won't you, young fellow?"
without waiting for an answer from philipthe big man burst into a great bellow of laughter.mr. carey kissed philip on the forehead and went away. "come along, young fellow," shouted mr.watson. "i'll show you the school-room." he swept out of the drawing-room with giantstrides, and philip hurriedly limped behind him. he was taken into a long, bare room withtwo tables that ran along its whole length; on each side of them were wooden forms."nobody much here yet," said mr. watson.
"i'll just show you the playground, andthen i'll leave you to shift for yourself." mr. watson led the way.philip found himself in a large play-ground with high brick walls on three sides of it. on the fourth side was an iron railingthrough which you saw a vast lawn and beyond this some of the buildings of king'sschool. one small boy was wandering disconsolately,kicking up the gravel as he walked. "hulloa, venning," shouted mr. watson."when did you turn up?" the small boy came forward and shook hands. "here's a new boy.he's older and bigger than you, so don't
you bully him." the headmaster glared amicably at the twochildren, filling them with fear by the roar of his voice, and then with a guffawleft them. "what's your name?" "carey.""what's your father?" "he's dead.""oh! does your mother wash?" "my mother's dead, too." philip thought this answer would cause theboy a certain awkwardness, but venning was not to be turned from his facetiousness forso little.
"well, did she wash?" he went on. "yes," said philip indignantly."she was a washerwoman then?" "no, she wasn't.""then she didn't wash." the little boy crowed with delight at thesuccess of his dialectic. then he caught sight of philip's feet."what's the matter with your foot?" philip instinctively tried to withdraw itfrom sight. he hid it behind the one which was whole."i've got a club-foot," he answered. "how did you get it?" "i've always had it.""let's have a look."
"no.""don't then." the little boy accompanied the words with asharp kick on philip's shin, which philip did not expect and thus could not guardagainst. the pain was so great that it made himgasp, but greater than the pain was the surprise.he did not know why venning kicked him. he had not the presence of mind to give hima black eye. besides, the boy was smaller than he, andhe had read in the boy's own paper that it was a mean thing to hit anyone smaller thanyourself. while philip was nursing his shin a thirdboy appeared, and his tormentor left him.
in a little while he noticed that the pairwere talking about him, and he felt they were looking at his feet. he grew hot and uncomfortable. but others arrived, a dozen together, andthen more, and they began to talk about their doings during the holidays, wherethey had been, and what wonderful cricket they had played. a few new boys appeared, and with thesepresently philip found himself talking. he was shy and nervous.he was anxious to make himself pleasant, but he could not think of anything to say.
he was asked a great many questions andanswered them all quite willingly. one boy asked him whether he could playcricket. "no," answered philip. "i've got a club-foot."the boy looked down quickly and reddened. philip saw that he felt he had asked anunseemly question. he was too shy to apologise and looked atphilip awkwardly. chapter xi next morning when the clanging of a bellawoke philip he looked round his cubicle in astonishment.then a voice sang out, and he remembered
where he was. "are you awake, singer?"the partitions of the cubicle were of polished pitch-pine, and there was a greencurtain in front. in those days there was little thought ofventilation, and the windows were closed except when the dormitory was aired in themorning. philip got up and knelt down to say hisprayers. it was a cold morning, and he shivered alittle; but he had been taught by his uncle that his prayers were more acceptable togod if he said them in his nightshirt than if he waited till he was dressed.
this did not surprise him, for he wasbeginning to realise that he was the creature of a god who appreciated thediscomfort of his worshippers. then he washed. there were two baths for the fiftyboarders, and each boy had a bath once a week. the rest of his washing was done in a smallbasin on a wash-stand, which with the bed and a chair, made up the furniture of eachcubicle. the boys chatted gaily while they dressed. philip was all ears.then another bell sounded, and they ran
downstairs. they took their seats on the forms on eachside of the two long tables in the school- room; and mr. watson, followed by his wifeand the servants, came in and sat down. mr. watson read prayers in an impressivemanner, and the supplications thundered out in his loud voice as though they werethreats personally addressed to each boy. philip listened with anxiety. then mr. watson read a chapter from thebible, and the servants trooped out. in a moment the untidy youth brought in twolarge pots of tea and on a second journey immense dishes of bread and butter.
philip had a squeamish appetite, and thethick slabs of poor butter on the bread turned his stomach, but he saw other boysscraping it off and followed their example. they all had potted meats and such like,which they had brought in their play-boxes; and some had 'extras,' eggs or bacon, uponwhich mr. watson made a profit. when he had asked mr. carey whether philipwas to have these, mr. carey replied that he did not think boys should be spoilt. mr. watson quite agreed with him--heconsidered nothing was better than bread and butter for growing lads--but someparents, unduly pampering their offspring, insisted on it.
philip noticed that 'extras' gave boys acertain consideration and made up his mind, when he wrote to aunt louisa, to ask forthem. after breakfast the boys wandered out intothe play-ground. here the day-boys were graduallyassembling. they were sons of the local clergy, of theofficers at the depot, and of such manufacturers or men of business as the oldtown possessed. presently a bell rang, and they all troopedinto school. this consisted of a large, long room atopposite ends of which two under-masters conducted the second and third forms, andof a smaller one, leading out of it, used
by mr. watson, who taught the first form. to attach the preparatory to the seniorschool these three classes were known officially, on speech days and in reports,as upper, middle, and lower second. philip was put in the last. the master, a red-faced man with a pleasantvoice, was called rice; he had a jolly manner with boys, and the time passedquickly. philip was surprised when it was a quarterto eleven and they were let out for ten minutes' rest.the whole school rushed noisily into the play-ground.
the new boys were told to go into themiddle, while the others stationed themselves along opposite walls.they began to play pig in the middle. the old boys ran from wall to wall whilethe new boys tried to catch them: when one was seized and the mystic words said--one,two, three, and a pig for me--he became a prisoner and, turning sides, helped tocatch those who were still free. philip saw a boy running past and tried tocatch him, but his limp gave him no chance; and the runners, taking their opportunity,made straight for the ground he covered. then one of them had the brilliant idea ofimitating philip's clumsy run. other boys saw it and began to laugh; thenthey all copied the first; and they ran
round philip, limping grotesquely,screaming in their treble voices with shrill laughter. they lost their heads with the delight oftheir new amusement, and choked with helpless merriment. one of them tripped philip up and he fell,heavily as he always fell, and cut his knee.they laughed all the louder when he got up. a boy pushed him from behind, and he wouldhave fallen again if another had not caught him.the game was forgotten in the entertainment of philip's deformity.
one of them invented an odd, rolling limpthat struck the rest as supremely ridiculous, and several of the boys laydown on the ground and rolled about in laughter: philip was completely scared. he could not make out why they werelaughing at him. his heart beat so that he could hardlybreathe, and he was more frightened than he had ever been in his life. he stood still stupidly while the boys ranround him, mimicking and laughing; they shouted to him to try and catch them; buthe did not move. he did not want them to see him run anymore.
he was using all his strength to preventhimself from crying. suddenly the bell rang, and they alltrooped back to school. philip's knee was bleeding, and he wasdusty and dishevelled. for some minutes mr. rice could not controlhis form. they were excited still by the strangenovelty, and philip saw one or two of them furtively looking down at his feet. he tucked them under the bench.in the afternoon they went up to play football, but mr. watson stopped philip onthe way out after dinner. "i suppose you can't play football, carey?"he asked him.
philip blushed self-consciously."no, sir." "very well. you'd better go up to the field.you can walk as far as that, can't you?" philip had no idea where the field was, buthe answered all the same. "yes, sir." the boys went in charge of mr. rice, whoglanced at philip and seeing he had not changed, asked why he was not going toplay. "mr. watson said i needn't, sir," saidphilip. "why?"
there were boys all round him, looking athim curiously, and a feeling of shame came over philip.he looked down without answering. others gave the reply. "he's got a club-foot, sir.""oh, i see." mr. rice was quite young; he had only takenhis degree a year before; and he was suddenly embarrassed. his instinct was to beg the boy's pardon,but he was too shy to do so. he made his voice gruff and loud."now then, you boys, what are you waiting about for?
get on with you."some of them had already started and those that were left now set off, in groups oftwo or three. "you'd better come along with me, carey,"said the master "you don't know the way, do you?"philip guessed the kindness, and a sob came to his throat. "i can't go very fast, sir.""then i'll go very slow," said the master, with a smile. philip's heart went out to the red-faced,commonplace young man who said a gentle word to him.he suddenly felt less unhappy.
but at night when they went up to bed andwere undressing, the boy who was called singer came out of his cubicle and put hishead in philip's. "i say, let's look at your foot," he said. "no," answered philip.he jumped into bed quickly. "don't say no to me," said singer."come on, mason." the boy in the next cubicle was lookinground the corner, and at the words he slipped in. they made for philip and tried to tear thebed-clothes off him, but he held them tightly."why can't you leave me alone?" he cried.
singer seized a brush and with the back ofit beat philip's hands clenched on the blanket.philip cried out. "why don't you show us your foot quietly?" "i won't."in desperation philip clenched his fist and hit the boy who tormented him, but he wasat a disadvantage, and the boy seized his arm. he began to turn it."oh, don't, don't," said philip. "you'll break my arm.""stop still then and put out your foot." philip gave a sob and a gasp.
the boy gave the arm another wrench.the pain was unendurable. "all right.i'll do it," said philip. he put out his foot. singer still kept his hand on philip'swrist. he looked curiously at the deformity."isn't it beastly?" said mason. another came in and looked too. "ugh," he said, in disgust."my word, it is rum," said singer, making a face."is it hard?" he touched it with the tip of hisforefinger, cautiously, as though it were
something that had a life of its own.suddenly they heard mr. watson's heavy tread on the stairs. they threw the clothes back on philip anddashed like rabbits into their cubicles. mr. watson came into the dormitory. raising himself on tiptoe he could see overthe rod that bore the green curtain, and he looked into two or three of the cubicles.the little boys were safely in bed. he put out the light and went out. singer called out to philip, but he did notanswer. he had got his teeth in the pillow so thathis sobbing should be inaudible.
he was not crying for the pain they hadcaused him, nor for the humiliation he had suffered when they looked at his foot, butwith rage at himself because, unable to stand the torture, he had put out his footof his own accord. and then he felt the misery of his life.it seemed to his childish mind that this unhappiness must go on for ever. for no particular reason he remembered thatcold morning when emma had taken him out of bed and put him beside his mother. he had not thought of it once since ithappened, but now he seemed to feel the warmth of his mother's body against his andher arms around him.
suddenly it seemed to him that his life wasa dream, his mother's death, and the life at the vicarage, and these two wretcheddays at school, and he would awake in the morning and be back again at home. his tears dried as he thought of it.he was too unhappy, it must be nothing but a dream, and his mother was alive, and emmawould come up presently and go to bed. he fell asleep. but when he awoke next morning it was tothe clanging of a bell, and the first thing his eyes saw was the green curtain of hiscubicle. chapter xii
as time went on philip's deformity ceasedto interest. it was accepted like one boy's red hair andanother's unreasonable corpulence. but meanwhile he had grown horriblysensitive. he never ran if he could help it, becausehe knew it made his limp more conspicuous, and he adopted a peculiar walk. he stood still as much as he could, withhis club-foot behind the other, so that it should not attract notice, and he wasconstantly on the look out for any reference to it. because he could not join in the gameswhich other boys played, their life
remained strange to him; he only interestedhimself from the outside in their doings; and it seemed to him that there was abarrier between them and him. sometimes they seemed to think that it washis fault if he could not play football, and he was unable to make them understand. he was left a good deal to himself.he had been inclined to talkativeness, but gradually he became silent.he began to think of the difference between himself and others. the biggest boy in his dormitory, singer,took a dislike to him, and philip, small for his age, had to put up with a good dealof hard treatment.
about half-way through the term a mania ranthrough the school for a game called nibs. it was a game for two, played on a table ora form with steel pens. you had to push your nib with the finger-nail so as to get the point of it over your opponent's, while he manoeuvred to preventthis and to get the point of his nib over the back of yours; when this result was achieved you breathed on the ball of yourthumb, pressed it hard on the two nibs, and if you were able then to lift them withoutdropping either, both nibs became yours. soon nothing was seen but boys playing thisgame, and the more skilful acquired vast stores of nibs.
but in a little while mr. watson made uphis mind that it was a form of gambling, forbade the game, and confiscated all thenibs in the boys' possession. philip had been very adroit, and it waswith a heavy heart that he gave up his winning; but his fingers itched to playstill, and a few days later, on his way to the football field, he went into a shop andbought a pennyworth of j pens. he carried them loose in his pocket andenjoyed feeling them. presently singer found out that he hadthem. singer had given up his nibs too, but hehad kept back a very large one, called a jumbo, which was almost unconquerable, andhe could not resist the opportunity of
getting philip's js out of him. though philip knew that he was at adisadvantage with his small nibs, he had an adventurous disposition and was willing totake the risk; besides, he was aware that singer would not allow him to refuse. he had not played for a week and sat downto the game now with a thrill of excitement. he lost two of his small nibs quickly, andsinger was jubilant, but the third time by some chance the jumbo slipped round andphilip was able to push his j across it. he crowed with triumph.
at that moment mr. watson came in."what are you doing?" he asked. he looked from singer to philip, butneither answered. "don't you know that i've forbidden you toplay that idiotic game?" philip's heart beat fast. he knew what was coming and was dreadfullyfrightened, but in his fright there was a certain exultation.he had never been swished. of course it would hurt, but it wassomething to boast about afterwards. "come into my study." the headmaster turned, and they followedhim side by side singer whispered to
philip:"we're in for it." mr. watson pointed to singer. "bend over," he said.philip, very white, saw the boy quiver at each stroke, and after the third he heardhim cry out. three more followed. "that'll do.get up." singer stood up.the tears were streaming down his face. philip stepped forward. mr. watson looked at him for a moment."i'm not going to cane you.
you're a new boy.and i can't hit a cripple. go away, both of you, and don't be naughtyagain." when they got back into the school-room agroup of boys, who had learned in some mysterious way what was happening, werewaiting for them. they set upon singer at once with eagerquestions. singer faced them, his face red with thepain and marks of tears still on his cheeks. he pointed with his head at philip, who wasstanding a little behind him. "he got off because he's a cripple," hesaid angrily.
philip stood silent and flushed. he felt that they looked at him withcontempt. "how many did you get?" one boy askedsinger. but he did not answer. he was angry because he had been hurt"don't ask me to play nibs with you again," he said to philip."it's jolly nice for you. you don't risk anything." "i didn't ask you.""didn't you!" he quickly put out his foot and trippedphilip up.
philip was always rather unsteady on hisfeet, and he fell heavily to the ground. "cripple," said singer. for the rest of the term he tormentedphilip cruelly, and, though philip tried to keep out of his way, the school was sosmall that it was impossible; he tried being friendly and jolly with him; he abased himself, so far as to buy him aknife; but though singer took the knife he was not placated. once or twice, driven beyond endurance, hehit and kicked the bigger boy, but singer was so much stronger that philip washelpless, and he was always forced after
more or less torture to beg his pardon. it was that which rankled with philip: hecould not bear the humiliation of apologies, which were wrung from him bypain greater than he could bear. and what made it worse was that thereseemed no end to his wretchedness; singer was only eleven and would not go to theupper school till he was thirteen. philip realised that he must live two yearswith a tormentor from whom there was no escape.he was only happy while he was working and when he got into bed. and often there recurred to him then thatqueer feeling that his life with all its
misery was nothing but a dream, and that hewould awake in the morning in his own little bed in london. chapter xiii two years passed, and philip was nearlytwelve. he was in the first form, within two orthree places of the top, and after christmas when several boys would beleaving for the senior school he would be head boy. he had already quite a collection ofprizes, worthless books on bad paper, but in gorgeous bindings decorated with thearms of the school: his position had freed
him from bullying, and he was not unhappy. his fellows forgave him his success becauseof his deformity. "after all, it's jolly easy for him to getprizes," they said, "there's nothing he can do but swat." he had lost his early terror of mr. watson.he had grown used to the loud voice, and when the headmaster's heavy hand was laidon his shoulder philip discerned vaguely the intention of a caress. he had the good memory which is more usefulfor scholastic achievements than mental power, and he knew mr. watson expected himto leave the preparatory school with a
scholarship. but he had grown very self-conscious. the new-born child does not realise thathis body is more a part of himself than surrounding objects, and will play with histoes without any feeling that they belong to him more than the rattle by his side; and it is only by degrees, through pain,that he understands the fact of the body. and experiences of the same kind arenecessary for the individual to become conscious of himself; but here there is thedifference that, although everyone becomes equally conscious of his body as a separate
and complete organism, everyone does notbecome equally conscious of himself as a complete and separate personality. the feeling of apartness from others comesto most with puberty, but it is not always developed to such a degree as to make thedifference between the individual and his fellows noticeable to the individual. it is such as he, as little conscious ofhimself as the bee in a hive, who are the lucky in life, for they have the bestchance of happiness: their activities are shared by all, and their pleasures are only pleasures because they are enjoyed incommon; you will see them on whit-monday
dancing on hampstead heath, shouting at afootball match, or from club windows in pall mall cheering a royal procession. it is because of them that man has beencalled a social animal. philip passed from the innocence ofchildhood to bitter consciousness of himself by the ridicule which his club-foothad excited. the circumstances of his case were sopeculiar that he could not apply to them the ready-made rules which acted wellenough in ordinary affairs, and he was forced to think for himself. the many books he had read filled his mindwith ideas which, because he only half
understood them, gave more scope to hisimagination. beneath his painful shyness something wasgrowing up within him, and obscurely he realised his personality. but at times it gave him odd surprises; hedid things, he knew not why, and afterwards when he thought of them found himself allat sea. there was a boy called luard between whomand philip a friendship had arisen, and one day, when they were playing together in theschool-room, luard began to perform some trick with an ebony pen-holder of philip's. "don't play the giddy ox," said philip."you'll only break it."
"i shan't." but no sooner were the words out of theboy's mouth than the pen-holder snapped in two.luard looked at philip with dismay. "oh, i say, i'm awfully sorry." the tears rolled down philip's cheeks, buthe did not answer. "i say, what's the matter?" said luard,with surprise. "i'll get you another one exactly thesame." "it's not about the pen-holder i care,"said philip, in a trembling voice, "only it was given me by my mater, just before shedied."
"i say, i'm awfully sorry, carey." "it doesn't matter.it wasn't your fault." philip took the two pieces of the pen-holder and looked at them. he tried to restrain his sobs. he felt utterly miserable.and yet he could not tell why, for he knew quite well that he had bought the pen-holder during his last holidays at blackstable for one and twopence. he did not know in the least what had madehim invent that pathetic story, but he was quite as unhappy as though it had beentrue.
the pious atmosphere of the vicarage andthe religious tone of the school had made philip's conscience very sensitive; heabsorbed insensibly the feeling about him that the tempter was ever on the watch to gain his immortal soul; and though he wasnot more truthful than most boys he never told a lie without suffering from remorse. when he thought over this incident he wasvery much distressed, and made up his mind that he must go to luard and tell him thatthe story was an invention. though he dreaded humiliation more thananything in the world, he hugged himself for two or three days at the thought of theagonising joy of humiliating himself to the
glory of god. but he never got any further.he satisfied his conscience by the more comfortable method of expressing hisrepentance only to the almighty. but he could not understand why he shouldhave been so genuinely affected by the story he was making up.the tears that flowed down his grubby cheeks were real tears. then by some accident of association thereoccurred to him that scene when emma had told him of his mother's death, and, thoughhe could not speak for crying, he had insisted on going in to say good-bye to the
misses watkin so that they might see hisgrief and pity him. chapter xiv then a wave of religiosity passed throughthe school. bad language was no longer heard, and thelittle nastinesses of small boys were looked upon with hostility; the biggerboys, like the lords temporal of the middle ages, used the strength of their arms to persuade those weaker than themselves tovirtuous courses. philip, his restless mind avid for newthings, became very devout. he heard soon that it was possible to joina bible league, and wrote to london for
particulars. these consisted in a form to be filled upwith the applicant's name, age, and school; a solemn declaration to be signed that hewould read a set portion of holy scripture every night for a year; and a request for half a crown; this, it was explained, wasdemanded partly to prove the earnestness of the applicant's desire to become a memberof the league, and partly to cover clerical expenses. philip duly sent the papers and the money,and in return received a calendar worth about a penny, on which was set down theappointed passage to be read each day, and
a sheet of paper on one side of which was a picture of the good shepherd and a lamb,and on the other, decoratively framed in red lines, a short prayer which had to besaid before beginning to read. every evening he undressed as quickly aspossible in order to have time for his task before the gas was put out. he read industriously, as he read always,without criticism, stories of cruelty, deceit, ingratitude, dishonesty, and lowcunning. actions which would have excited his horrorin the life about him, in the reading passed through his mind without comment,because they were committed under the
direct inspiration of god. the method of the league was to alternate abook of the old testament with a book of the new, and one night philip came acrossthese words of jesus christ: if ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shallnot only do this which is done to the fig- tree, but also if ye shall say unto thismountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. and all this, whatsoever ye shall ask inprayer, believing, ye shall receive. they made no particular impression on him,but it happened that two or three days later, being sunday, the canon in residencechose them for the text of his sermon.
even if philip had wanted to hear this itwould have been impossible, for the boys of king's school sit in the choir, and thepulpit stands at the corner of the transept so that the preacher's back is almostturned to them. the distance also is so great that it needsa man with a fine voice and a knowledge of elocution to make himself heard in thechoir; and according to long usage the canons of tercanbury are chosen for their learning rather than for any qualitieswhich might be of use in a cathedral church. but the words of the text, perhaps becausehe had read them so short a while before,
came clearly enough to philip's ears, andthey seemed on a sudden to have a personal application. he thought about them through most of thesermon, and that night, on getting into bed, he turned over the pages of the gospeland found once more the passage. though he believed implicitly everything hesaw in print, he had learned already that in the bible things that said one thingquite clearly often mysteriously meant another. there was no one he liked to ask at school,so he kept the question he had in mind till the christmas holidays, and then one day hemade an opportunity.
it was after supper and prayers were justfinished. mrs. carey was counting the eggs that maryann had brought in as usual and writing on each one the date. philip stood at the table and pretended toturn listlessly the pages of the bible. "i say, uncle william, this passage here,does it really mean that?" he put his finger against it as though hehad come across it accidentally. mr. carey looked up over his spectacles.he was holding the blackstable times in front of the fire. it had come in that evening damp from thepress, and the vicar always aired it for
ten minutes before he began to read."what passage is that?" he asked. "why, this about if you have faith you canremove mountains." "if it says so in the bible it is so,philip," said mrs. carey gently, taking up the plate-basket. philip looked at his uncle for an answer."it's a matter of faith." "d'you mean to say that if you reallybelieved you could move mountains you could?" "by the grace of god," said the vicar."now, say good-night to your uncle, philip," said aunt louisa."you're not wanting to move a mountain
tonight, are you?" philip allowed himself to be kissed on theforehead by his uncle and preceded mrs. carey upstairs.he had got the information he wanted. his little room was icy, and he shiveredwhen he put on his nightshirt. but he always felt that his prayers weremore pleasing to god when he said them under conditions of discomfort. the coldness of his hands and feet were anoffering to the almighty. and tonight he sank on his knees; buriedhis face in his hands, and prayed to god with all his might that he would make hisclub-foot whole.
it was a very small thing beside the movingof mountains. he knew that god could do it if he wished,and his own faith was complete. next morning, finishing his prayers withthe same request, he fixed a date for the miracle. "oh, god, in thy loving mercy and goodness,if it be thy will, please make my foot all right on the night before i go back toschool." he was glad to get his petition into aformula, and he repeated it later in the dining-room during the short pause whichthe vicar always made after prayers, before he rose from his knees.
he said it again in the evening and again,shivering in his nightshirt, before he got into bed.and he believed. for once he looked forward with eagernessto the end of the holidays. he laughed to himself as he thought of hisuncle's astonishment when he ran down the stairs three at a time; and after breakfasthe and aunt louisa would have to hurry out and buy a new pair of boots. at school they would be astounded."hulloa, carey, what have you done with your foot?" "oh, it's all right now," he would answercasually, as though it were the most
natural thing in the world.he would be able to play football. his heart leaped as he saw himself running,running, faster than any of the other boys. at the end of the easter term there werethe sports, and he would be able to go in for the races; he rather fancied himselfover the hurdles. it would be splendid to be like everyoneelse, not to be stared at curiously by new boys who did not know about his deformity,nor at the baths in summer to need incredible precautions, while he was undressing, before he could hide his footin the water. he prayed with all the power of his soul.no doubts assailed him.
he was confident in the word of god. and the night before he was to go back toschool he went up to bed tremulous with there was snow on the ground, and auntlouisa had allowed herself the unaccustomed luxury of a fire in her bed-room; but inphilip's little room it was so cold that his fingers were numb, and he had greatdifficulty in undoing his collar. his teeth chattered. the idea came to him that he must dosomething more than usual to attract the attention of god, and he turned back therug which was in front of his bed so that he could kneel on the bare boards; and then
it struck him that his nightshirt was asoftness that might displease his maker, so he took it off and said his prayers naked. when he got into bed he was so cold thatfor some time he could not sleep, but when he did, it was so soundly that mary ann hadto shake him when she brought in his hot water next morning. she talked to him while she drew thecurtains, but he did not answer; he had remembered at once that this was themorning for the miracle. his heart was filled with joy andgratitude. his first instinct was to put down his handand feel the foot which was whole now, but
to do this seemed to doubt the goodness ofgod. he knew that his foot was well. but at last he made up his mind, and withthe toes of his right foot he just touched his left.then he passed his hand over it. he limped downstairs just as mary ann wasgoing into the dining-room for prayers, and then he sat down to breakfast."you're very quiet this morning, philip," said aunt louisa presently. "he's thinking of the good breakfast he'llhave at school to-morrow," said the vicar. when philip answered, it was in a way thatalways irritated his uncle, with something
that had nothing to do with the matter inhand. he called it a bad habit of wool-gathering. "supposing you'd asked god to dosomething," said philip, "and really believed it was going to happen, likemoving a mountain, i mean, and you had faith, and it didn't happen, what would itmean?" "what a funny boy you are!" said auntlouisa. "you asked about moving mountains two orthree weeks ago." "it would just mean that you hadn't gotfaith," answered uncle william. philip accepted the explanation.
if god had not cured him, it was because hedid not really believe. and yet he did not see how he could believemore than he did. but perhaps he had not given god enoughtime. he had only asked him for nineteen days.in a day or two he began his prayer again, and this time he fixed upon easter. that was the day of his son's gloriousresurrection, and god in his happiness might be mercifully inclined. but now philip added other means ofattaining his desire: he began to wish, when he saw a new moon or a dappled horse,and he looked out for shooting stars;
during exeat they had a chicken at the vicarage, and he broke the lucky bone withaunt louisa and wished again, each time that his foot might be made whole.he was appealing unconsciously to gods older to his race than the god of israel. and he bombarded the almighty with hisprayer, at odd times of the day, whenever it occurred to him, in identical wordsalways, for it seemed to him important to make his request in the same terms. but presently the feeling came to him thatthis time also his faith would not be great enough.he could not resist the doubt that assailed
he made his own experience into a generalrule. "i suppose no one ever has faith enough,"he said. it was like the salt which his nurse usedto tell him about: you could catch any bird by putting salt on his tail; and once hehad taken a little bag of it into kensington gardens. but he could never get near enough to putthe salt on a bird's tail. before easter he had given up the struggle.he felt a dull resentment against his uncle for taking him in. the text which spoke of the moving ofmountains was just one of those that said
one thing and meant another.he thought his uncle had been playing a practical joke on him. chapter xv the king's school at tercanbury, to whichphilip went when he was thirteen, prided itself on its antiquity. it traced its origin to an abbey school,founded before the conquest, where the rudiments of learning were taught byaugustine monks; and, like many another establishment of this sort, on the destruction of the monasteries it had beenreorganised by the officers of king henry
viii and thus acquired its name. since then, pursuing its modest course, ithad given to the sons of the local gentry and of the professional people of kent aneducation sufficient to their needs. one or two men of letters, beginning with apoet, than whom only shakespeare had a more splendid genius, and ending with a writerof prose whose view of life has affected profoundly the generation of which philip was a member, had gone forth from its gatesto achieve fame; it had produced one or two eminent lawyers, but eminent lawyers arecommon, and one or two soldiers of distinction; but during the three centuries
since its separation from the monasticorder it had trained especially men of the church, bishops, deans, canons, and aboveall country clergymen: there were boys in the school whose fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, had been educated thereand had all been rectors of parishes in the diocese of tercanbury; and they came to itwith their minds made up already to be ordained. but there were signs notwithstanding thateven there changes were coming; for a few, repeating what they had heard at home, saidthat the church was no longer what it used to be.
it wasn't so much the money; but the classof people who went in for it weren't the same; and two or three boys knew curateswhose fathers were tradesmen: they'd rather go out to the colonies (in those days the colonies were still the last hope of thosewho could get nothing to do in england) than be a curate under some chap who wasn'ta gentleman. at king's school, as at blackstablevicarage, a tradesman was anyone who was not lucky enough to own land (and here afine distinction was made between the gentleman farmer and the landowner), or did not follow one of the four professions towhich it was possible for a gentleman to
belong. among the day-boys, of whom there wereabout a hundred and fifty, sons of the local gentry and of the men stationed atthe depot, those whose fathers were engaged in business were made to feel thedegradation of their state. the masters had no patience with modernideas of education, which they read of sometimes in the times or the guardian, andhoped fervently that king's school would remain true to its old traditions. the dead languages were taught with suchthoroughness that an old boy seldom thought of homer or virgil in after life without aqualm of boredom; and though in the common
room at dinner one or two bolder spirits suggested that mathematics were ofincreasing importance, the general feeling was that they were a less noble study thanthe classics. neither german nor chemistry was taught,and french only by the form-masters; they could keep order better than a foreigner,and, since they knew the grammar as well as any frenchman, it seemed unimportant that none of them could have got a cup of coffeein the restaurant at boulogne unless the waiter had known a little english. geography was taught chiefly by making boysdraw maps, and this was a favourite
occupation, especially when the countrydealt with was mountainous: it was possible to waste a great deal of time in drawingthe andes or the apennines. the masters, graduates of oxford orcambridge, were ordained and unmarried; if by chance they wished to marry they couldonly do so by accepting one of the smaller livings at the disposal of the chapter; but for many years none of them had cared toleave the refined society of tercanbury, which owing to the cavalry depot had amartial as well as an ecclesiastical tone, for the monotony of life in a country rectory; and they were now all men ofmiddle age.
the headmaster, on the other hand, wasobliged to be married and he conducted the school till age began to tell upon him. when he retired he was rewarded with a muchbetter living than any of the under-masters could hope for, and an honorary canonry.but a year before philip entered the school a great change had come over it. it had been obvious for some time that dr.fleming, who had been headmaster for the quarter of a century, was become too deafto continue his work to the greater glory of god; and when one of the livings on the outskirts of the city fell vacant, with astipend of six hundred a year, the chapter
offered it to him in such a manner as toimply that they thought it high time for him to retire. he could nurse his ailments comfortably onsuch an income. two or three curates who had hoped forpreferment told their wives it was scandalous to give a parish that needed ayoung, strong, and energetic man to an old fellow who knew nothing of parochial work, and had feathered his nest already; but themutterings of the unbeneficed clergy do not reach the ears of a cathedral chapter. and as for the parishioners they hadnothing to say in the matter, and therefore
nobody asked for their opinion.the wesleyans and the baptists both had chapels in the village. when dr. fleming was thus disposed of itbecame necessary to find a successor. it was contrary to the traditions of theschool that one of the lower-masters should be chosen. the common-room was unanimous in desiringthe election of mr. watson, headmaster of the preparatory school; he could hardly bedescribed as already a master of king's school, they had all known him for twenty years, and there was no danger that hewould make a nuisance of himself.
but the chapter sprang a surprise on them.it chose a man called perkins. at first nobody knew who perkins was, andthe name favourably impressed no one; but before the shock of it had passed away, itwas realised that perkins was the son of perkins the linendraper. dr. fleming informed the masters justbefore dinner, and his manner showed his consternation. such of them as were dining in, ate theirmeal almost in silence, and no reference was made to the matter till the servantshad left the room. then they set to.
the names of those present on this occasionare unimportant, but they had been known to generations of school-boys as sighs, tar,winks, squirts, and pat. they all knew tom perkins. the first thing about him was that he wasnot a gentleman. they remembered him quite well.he was a small, dark boy, with untidy black hair and large eyes. he looked like a gipsy.he had come to the school as a day-boy, with the best scholarship on theirendowment, so that his education had cost him nothing.
of course he was brilliant.at every speech-day he was loaded with prizes. he was their show-boy, and they rememberednow bitterly their fear that he would try to get some scholarship at one of thelarger public schools and so pass out of their hands. dr. fleming had gone to the linendraper hisfather--they all remembered the shop, perkins and cooper, in st. catherine'sstreet--and said he hoped tom would remain with them till he went to oxford. the school was perkins and cooper's bestcustomer, and mr. perkins was only too glad
to give the required assurance. tom perkins continued to triumph, he wasthe finest classical scholar that dr. fleming remembered, and on leaving theschool took with him the most valuable scholarship they had to offer. he got another at magdalen and settled downto a brilliant career at the university. the school magazine recorded thedistinctions he achieved year after year, and when he got his double first dr.fleming himself wrote a few words of eulogy on the front page. it was with greater satisfaction that theywelcomed his success, since perkins and
cooper had fallen upon evil days: cooperdrank like a fish, and just before tom perkins took his degree the linendrapersfiled their petition in bankruptcy. in due course tom perkins took holy ordersand entered upon the profession for which he was so admirably suited. he had been an assistant master atwellington and then at rugby. but there was quite a difference betweenwelcoming his success at other schools and serving under his leadership in their own. tar had frequently given him lines, andsquirts had boxed his ears. they could not imagine how the chapter hadmade such a mistake.
no one could be expected to forget that hewas the son of a bankrupt linendraper, and the alcoholism of cooper seemed to increasethe disgrace. it was understood that the dean hadsupported his candidature with zeal, so the dean would probably ask him to dinner; butwould the pleasant little dinners in the precincts ever be the same when tom perkinssat at the table? and what about the depot? he really could not expect officers andgentlemen to receive him as one of themselves.it would do the school incalculable harm. parents would be dissatisfied, and no onecould be surprised if there were wholesale
withdrawals.and then the indignity of calling him mr. perkins! the masters thought by way of protest ofsending in their resignations in a body, but the uneasy fear that they would beaccepted with equanimity restrained them. "the only thing is to prepare ourselves forchanges," said sighs, who had conducted the fifth form for five and twenty years withunparalleled incompetence. and when they saw him they were notreassured. dr. fleming invited them to meet him atluncheon. he was now a man of thirty-two, tall andlean, but with the same wild and unkempt
look they remembered on him as a boy.his clothes, ill-made and shabby, were put on untidily. his hair was as black and as long as ever,and he had plainly never learned to brush it; it fell over his forehead with everygesture, and he had a quick movement of the hand with which he pushed it back from hiseyes. he had a black moustache and a beard whichcame high up on his face almost to the cheek-bones, he talked to the masters quiteeasily, as though he had parted from them a week or two before; he was evidentlydelighted to see them. he seemed unconscious of the strangeness ofthe position and appeared not to notice any
oddness in being addressed as mr. perkins. when he bade them good-bye, one of themasters, for something to say, remarked that he was allowing himself plenty of timeto catch his train. "i want to go round and have a look at theshop," he answered cheerfully. there was a distinct embarrassment. they wondered that he could be so tactless,and to make it worse dr. fleming had not heard what he said.his wife shouted it in his ear. "he wants to go round and look at hisfather's old shop." only tom perkins was unconscious of thehumiliation which the whole party felt.
he turned to mrs. fleming. "who's got it now, d'you know?"she could hardly answer. she was very angry."it's still a linendraper's," she said bitterly. "grove is the name.we don't deal there any more." "i wonder if he'd let me go over thehouse." "i expect he would if you explain who youare." it was not till the end of dinner thatevening that any reference was made in the common-room to the subject that was in alltheir minds.
then it was sighs who asked: "well, what did you think of our new head?"they thought of the conversation at luncheon.it was hardly a conversation; it was a monologue. perkins had talked incessantly.he talked very quickly, with a flow of easy words and in a deep, resonant voice.he had a short, odd little laugh which showed his white teeth. they had followed him with difficulty, forhis mind darted from subject to subject with a connection they did not alwayscatch.
he talked of pedagogics, and this wasnatural enough; but he had much to say of modern theories in germany which they hadnever heard of and received with misgiving. he talked of the classics, but he had beento greece, and he discoursed of archaeology; he had once spent a winterdigging; they could not see how that helped a man to teach boys to pass examinations,he talked of politics. it sounded odd to them to hear him comparelord beaconsfield with alcibiades. he talked of mr. gladstone and home rule. they realised that he was a liberal.their hearts sank. he talked of german philosophy and offrench fiction.
they could not think a man profound whoseinterests were so diverse. it was winks who summed up the generalimpression and put it into a form they all felt conclusively damning. winks was the master of the upper third, aweak-kneed man with drooping eye-lids, he was too tall for his strength, and hismovements were slow and languid. he gave an impression of lassitude, and hisnickname was eminently appropriate. "he's very enthusiastic," said winks.enthusiasm was ill-bred. enthusiasm was ungentlemanly. they thought of the salvation army with itsbraying trumpets and its drums.
enthusiasm meant change. they had goose-flesh when they thought ofall the pleasant old habits which stood in imminent danger.they hardly dared to look forward to the future. "he looks more of a gipsy than ever," saidone, after a pause. "i wonder if the dean and chapter knew thathe was a radical when they elected him," another observed bitterly. but conversation halted.they were too much disturbed for words. when tar and sighs were walking together tothe chapter house on speech-day a week
later, tar, who had a bitter tongue,remarked to his colleague: "well, we've seen a good many speech-dayshere, haven't we? i wonder if we shall see another."sighs was more melancholy even than usual. "if anything worth having comes along inthe way of a living i don't mind when i retire." chapter xvi a year passed, and when philip came to theschool the old masters were all in their places; but a good many changes had takenplace notwithstanding their stubborn resistance, none the less formidable
because it was concealed under an apparentdesire to fall in with the new head's ideas. though the form-masters still taught frenchto the lower school, another master had come, with a degree of doctor of philologyfrom the university of heidelberg and a record of three years spent in a french lycee, to teach french to the upper formsand german to anyone who cared to take it up instead of greek. another master was engaged to teachmathematics more systematically than had been found necessary hitherto.neither of these was ordained.
this was a real revolution, and when thepair arrived the older masters received them with distrust. a laboratory had been fitted up, armyclasses were instituted; they all said the character of the school was changing. and heaven only knew what further projectsmr. perkins turned in that untidy head of his. the school was small as public schools go,there were not more than two hundred boarders; and it was difficult for it togrow larger, for it was huddled up against the cathedral; the precincts, with the
exception of a house in which some of themasters lodged, were occupied by the cathedral clergy; and there was no moreroom for building. but mr. perkins devised an elaborate schemeby which he might obtain sufficient space to make the school double its present size.he wanted to attract boys from london. he thought it would be good for them to bethrown in contact with the kentish lads, and it would sharpen the country wits ofthese. "it's against all our traditions," saidsighs, when mr. perkins made the suggestion to him."we've rather gone out of our way to avoid the contamination of boys from london."
"oh, what nonsense!" said mr. perkins. no one had ever told the form-master beforethat he talked nonsense, and he was meditating an acid reply, in which perhapshe might insert a veiled reference to hosiery, when mr. perkins in his impetuousway attacked him outrageously. "that house in the precincts--if you'd onlymarry i'd get the chapter to put another couple of stories on, and we'd makedormitories and studies, and your wife could help you." the elderly clergyman gasped.why should he marry? he was fifty-seven, a man couldn't marry atfifty-seven.
he couldn't start looking after a house athis time of life. he didn't want to marry.if the choice lay between that and the country living he would much sooner resign. all he wanted now was peace and quietness."i'm not thinking of marrying," he said. mr. perkins looked at him with his dark,bright eyes, and if there was a twinkle in them poor sighs never saw it. "what a pity!couldn't you marry to oblige me? it would help me a great deal with the deanand chapter when i suggest rebuilding your house."
but mr. perkins' most unpopular innovationwas his system of taking occasionally another man's form. he asked it as a favour, but after all itwas a favour which could not be refused, and as tar, otherwise mr. turner, said, itwas undignified for all parties. he gave no warning, but after morningprayers would say to one of the masters: "i wonder if you'd mind taking the sixthtoday at eleven. we'll change over, shall we?" they did not know whether this was usual atother schools, but certainly it had never been done at tercanbury.the results were curious.
mr. turner, who was the first victim, brokethe news to his form that the headmaster would take them for latin that day, and onthe pretence that they might like to ask him a question or two so that they should not make perfect fools of themselves, spentthe last quarter of an hour of the history lesson in construing for them the passageof livy which had been set for the day; but when he rejoined his class and looked at the paper on which mr. perkins had writtenthe marks, a surprise awaited him; for the two boys at the top of the form seemed tohave done very ill, while others who had never distinguished themselves before weregiven full marks.
when he asked eldridge, his cleverest boy,what was the meaning of this the answer came sullenly: "mr. perkins never gave us any construingto do. he asked me what i knew about generalgordon." mr. turner looked at him in astonishment. the boys evidently felt they had beenhardly used, and he could not help agreeing with their silent dissatisfaction.he could not see either what general gordon had to do with livy. he hazarded an inquiry afterwards."eldridge was dreadfully put out because
you asked him what he knew about generalgordon," he said to the headmaster, with an attempt at a chuckle. mr. perkins laughed."i saw they'd got to the agrarian laws of caius gracchus, and i wondered if they knewanything about the agrarian troubles in ireland. but all they knew about ireland was thatdublin was on the liffey. so i wondered if they'd ever heard ofgeneral gordon." then the horrid fact was disclosed that thenew head had a mania for general information.
he had doubts about the utility ofexaminations on subjects which had been crammed for the occasion.he wanted common sense. sighs grew more worried every month; hecould not get the thought out of his head that mr. perkins would ask him to fix a dayfor his marriage; and he hated the attitude the head adopted towards classicalliterature. there was no doubt that he was a finescholar, and he was engaged on a work which was quite in the right tradition: he waswriting a treatise on the trees in latin literature; but he talked of it flippantly, as though it were a pastime of no greatimportance, like billiards, which engaged
his leisure but was not to be consideredwith seriousness. and squirts, the master of the middlethird, grew more ill-tempered every day. it was in his form that philip was put onentering the school. the rev. b.b. gordon was a man by natureill-suited to be a schoolmaster: he was impatient and choleric. with no one to call him to account, withonly small boys to face him, he had long lost all power of self-control.he began his work in a rage and ended it in a passion. he was a man of middle height and of acorpulent figure; he had sandy hair, worn
very short and now growing gray, and asmall bristly moustache. his large face, with indistinct featuresand small blue eyes, was naturally red, but during his frequent attacks of anger itgrew dark and purple. his nails were bitten to the quick, forwhile some trembling boy was construing he would sit at his desk shaking with the furythat consumed him, and gnaw his fingers. stories, perhaps exaggerated, were told ofhis violence, and two years before there had been some excitement in the school whenit was heard that one father was threatening a prosecution: he had boxed the ears of a boy named walters with a book soviolently that his hearing was affected and
the boy had to be taken away from theschool. the boy's father lived in tercanbury, andthere had been much indignation in the city, the local paper had referred to thematter; but mr. walters was only a brewer, so the sympathy was divided. the rest of the boys, for reasons bestknown to themselves, though they loathed the master, took his side in the affair,and, to show their indignation that the school's business had been dealt with outside, made things as uncomfortable asthey could for walters' younger brother, who still remained.
but mr. gordon had only escaped the countryliving by the skin of his teeth, and he had never hit a boy since. the right the masters possessed to caneboys on the hand was taken away from them, and squirts could no longer emphasize hisanger by beating his desk with the cane. he never did more now than take a boy bythe shoulders and shake him. he still made a naughty or refractory ladstand with one arm stretched out for anything from ten minutes to half an hour,and he was as violent as before with his tongue. no master could have been more unfitted toteach things to so shy a boy as philip.
he had come to the school with fewerterrors than he had when first he went to mr. watson's. he knew a good many boys who had been withhim at the preparatory school. he felt more grownup, and instinctivelyrealised that among the larger numbers his deformity would be less noticeable. but from the first day mr. gordon struckterror in his heart; and the master, quick to discern the boys who were frightened ofhim, seemed on that account to take a peculiar dislike to him. philip had enjoyed his work, but now hebegan to look upon the hours passed in
school with horror. rather than risk an answer which might bewrong and excite a storm of abuse from the master, he would sit stupidly silent, andwhen it came towards his turn to stand up and construe he grew sick and white withapprehension. his happy moments were those when mr.perkins took the form. he was able to gratify the passion forgeneral knowledge which beset the headmaster; he had read all sorts ofstrange books beyond his years, and often mr. perkins, when a question was going round the room, would stop at philip with asmile that filled the boy with rapture, and
say:"now, carey, you tell them." the good marks he got on these occasionsincreased mr. gordon's indignation. one day it came to philip's turn totranslate, and the master sat there glaring at him and furiously biting his thumb. he was in a ferocious mood.philip began to speak in a low voice. "don't mumble," shouted the master.something seemed to stick in philip's throat. "go on.go on. go on."each time the words were screamed more
loudly. the effect was to drive all he knew out ofphilip's head, and he looked at the printed page vacantly.mr. gordon began to breathe heavily. "if you don't know why don't you say so? do you know it or not?did you hear all this construed last time or not?why don't you speak? speak, you blockhead, speak!" the master seized the arms of his chair andgrasped them as though to prevent himself from falling upon philip.
they knew that in past days he often usedto seize boys by the throat till they almost choked.the veins in his forehead stood out and his face grew dark and threatening. he was a man insane.philip had known the passage perfectly the day before, but now he could remembernothing. "i don't know it," he gasped. "why don't you know it?let's take the words one by one. we'll soon see if you don't know it." philip stood silent, very white, tremblinga little, with his head bent down on the
book.the master's breathing grew almost stertorous. "the headmaster says you're clever.i don't know how he sees it. general information."he laughed savagely. "i don't know what they put you in his formfor, blockhead." he was pleased with the word, and herepeated it at the top of his voice. "blockhead! blockhead!club-footed blockhead!" that relieved him a little.he saw philip redden suddenly.
he told him to fetch the black book. philip put down his caesar and wentsilently out. the black book was a sombre volume in whichthe names of boys were written with their misdeeds, and when a name was down threetimes it meant a caning. philip went to the headmaster's house andknocked at his study-door. mr. perkins was seated at his table."may i have the black book, please, sir." "there it is," answered mr. perkins,indicating its place by a nod of his head. "what have you been doing that youshouldn't?" "i don't know, sir."
mr. perkins gave him a quick look, butwithout answering went on with his work. philip took the book and went out.when the hour was up, a few minutes later, he brought it back. "let me have a look at it," said theheadmaster. "i see mr. gordon has black-booked you for'gross impertinence.' what was it?" "i don't know, sir.mr. gordon said i was a club-footed blockhead."mr. perkins looked at him again. he wondered whether there was sarcasmbehind the boy's reply, but he was still
much too shaken.his face was white and his eyes had a look of terrified distress. mr. perkins got up and put the book down.as he did so he took up some photographs. "a friend of mine sent me some pictures ofathens this morning," he said casually. "look here, there's the akropolis." he began explaining to philip what he saw.the ruin grew vivid with his words. he showed him the theatre of dionysus andexplained in what order the people sat, and how beyond they could see the blue aegean. and then suddenly he said:"i remember mr. gordon used to call me a
gipsy counter-jumper when i was in hisform." and before philip, his mind fixed on thephotographs, had time to gather the meaning of the remark, mr. perkins was showing hima picture of salamis, and with his finger, a finger of which the nail had a little black edge to it, was pointing out how thegreek ships were placed and how the persian.