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BY ROBERT HOPE MONCRIE FF, AUTHOR OF 'OUDENDALE,' 'STORIES FOR BOYS,' 'ARTHUR FORTESCUE,'
THE LYCEE BOYS,' ETC.
UT there was more trouble coming upon
Horace on account of his wrongdoings on that night when Rawlett and he stole out. For, about a week afterwards, as, on his way to the Academy, he was passing the small
fruit-shop where he had bought the
grapes, the shopwoman, who was setting down a basket of apples at the door, called to him, and asked if he could pay the money he owed her.
'I would—I haven't got any money just now- I'm afraid I can't,' stammered Horace.
But I can't go without it,' said she. “These is hard times for poor folk; and I have my rent to pay soon.'
* I'm very sorry—I will really pay you as soon as I can.' 'I don't want your sorrow, I want eighteenpence, cried she sharply, for she suspected that Horace never meant to pay her at all. 'I'll tell you what it is, my laddie. You're living with Mr Dunning up the street, and, if I'm not paid before the week's over, I'll speak to him about it as sure as my name's MacPherson. I'm thinking he'll see that I don't want my money long.'
‘Oh no; don't do that! cried Horace. 'See if I don't, unless you pay me,' said Mrs MacPher
'Laddies has no business to be running in debt; and I'm thinking you and yon other one will be getting your licks when Mr Dunning hears about it;' and with this prediction, the truth of which made it very unpleasant, grim Mrs MacPherson retreated into her shop.
Horace in great alarm went on his way to school, and when he got there, set off to find Rawlett, and told him about Mrs MacPherson's threats.
“Tuts, man, you're easily frightened,” said Rawlett, who, however, did not feel very comfortable about the matter himself.
• But what are we to do?'
• Why, get the money and pay her. Is there none of the fellows in the house who could lend it to us?'
‘Even if they would, none of them could. I don't think any of the boys has any money just now-except Maxwell, perhaps.'
“Well, of course we needn't think of asking him. I wonder if there's any fellow in the class who would lend
you it !
'I don't want to get into debt again if I can help it. I would rather let Mr Dunning hear about it.'
* You stupid, you would get an awful licking.'
'Oh! I wish we had never been such fools as to get into this scrape,' groaned Horace.
'We! It's your scrape if you please. I had nothing to do with it.'
‘Oh, Rawlett! it was as much your doing as minea great deal more, I think.'
It wasn't. But you needn't be afraid ; I'll help you to pay the money at all events, if I can,' said Rawlett, who knew very well that if Horace was found out, he himself would not likely escape punishment. “By the bye, Horace, didn't I hear Sillison offering you a shilling for your knife yesterday? Why don't you take it?'
? A shilling isn't eighteenpence,' said Horace, gloomily. • No, but it's not far from it. Get the shilling, and we'll make it eighteenpence somehow or other.'
* But I haven't got the knife now. Mr Whitson took it away from me yesterday, because I was cutting the form with it. He said he wouldn't give it me back for six weeks.'
“What a bother! But I'll tell you what: Whitson is a very soft fellow; and if you go about it rightly, you'll easily get him to give back your knife. Say it was Harry's knife, not your own, and Whitson will give it you back in a ininute.'
Mr Whitson, be it understood, was the arithmetic master, favourably known among the boys for his kindheartedness.
“Will you ask him ?'
You must, if you don't want to get into the most fearful row about that eighteenpence.'
This conversation, which had taken place in the Academy yards, now came to an end; for the bell had been rung some three minutes, the masters were all in their classrooms, and the two boys had to make a run for it to escape being late for prayers.
Though Horace had at first refused to have anything to do with Rawlett's plan for getting back his knife, he felt tempted to try it, so troubled and alarmed was he about Mrs MacPherson's threat of speaking to Mr Dunning. The knife had once been Harry's, so it would not, he tried to persuade himself, be altogether a lie to say that it was his; and though certainly it would not be altogether true, still it would only be a little thing. And Horace made up his mind that if he could only get out of this scrape in which he was, he would take good care to get into no more for the future.
Horace, Horace! when we find ourselves doing wrong, the best thing to do is to begin at once doing right, heedless of consequences; and the worst thing to do is to go on doing wrong, making bad worse, and trying to quiet our consciences by resolving to do right in a little while. Just now is always the time to do right, just now
is always the time to repent, just now is always the time to resist temptation.
But Horace was tempted into deciding that just now he would do wrong once more; and so, when he was leaving Mr Whitson's classroom, he went up to him and said
* Please, sir, I want to ask you if you will give me back the knife you took from me yesterday. It was my brother's, and I don't like him to lose it.' Eh? What?' said Mr Whitson.
"It was your brother's, was it? Why did you not tell me so at the time? And why did you play with it at all in the class, eh, my boy?'
Horace cast his eyes on the ground, but said nothing. Well, well,' said Mr Whitson, 'if it was your brother's
' knife I will give it back to you; but remember, Hazelwood, you must take care not to put your brother's property in peril again. Here it is for you, and he
' lifted the lid of his desk and took out the knife.
*Thank you, sir,' said Horace, taking it and running off to find Rawlett.
Here's the knife, Rawlett.' "Well, then, we must get hold of Willy Silly.'
Willy Silly' was the nickname of an inoffensive, stupid little boy in the second class, whose real name was Willoughby Sillison, and who was chiefly remarkable for having always a great deal of money which was given him by a fond and over-indulgent father.
• There he is standing beneath one of the trees in the seconds' yard,' said Rawlett. 'I tell you what, Horace, go you into the second class lobby, and I'll fetch in Sillison, and then we'll make the bargain comfortably and satisfactorily.'
The second classroom has a good-sized lobby or entrance hall, used by the boys to put their books in during play hours, and to this, which happened to be empty, Horace betook himself, followed in a minute by Rawlett, dragging along Sillison with a much greater