TOM AND MAGGIE TULLIVER
TOLD FROM GEORGE ELIOT'S
"THE MILL ON THE FLOSS"
I. TOM MUST GO TO SCHOOL
II. THE CHOICE OF A SCHOOL
III. TOM COMES HOME
IV. ALL ABOUT A JAM PUFF
V. THE FAMILY PARTY
VI. THE MAGIC MUSIC
VII. MAGGIE IS VERY NAUGHTY
VIII. MAGGIE AND THE GIPSIES
IX. THE GIPSY QUEEN ABDICATES
X. TOM AT SCHOOL
XI. THE NEW SCHOOLFELLOW
XII. THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON
XIII. PHILIP AND MAGGIE
TOM MUST GO TO SCHOOL.
"What I want, you know," said Mr. Tulliver of Dorlcote Mill--"what I
want is to give Tom a good eddication. That was what I was thinking of
when I gave notice for him to leave th' academy at Lady Day. I meant
to put him to a downright good school at Midsummer.
"The two years at th' academy 'ud ha' done well enough," the miller
went on, "if I'd meant to make a miller and farmer of him like myself.
But I should like Tom to be a bit of a scholard, so as he might be up
to the tricks o' these fellows as talk fine and write with a flourish.
It 'ud be a help to me wi' these lawsuits and things."
Mr. Tulliver was speaking to his wife, a blond, comely woman in a
"Well, Mr. Tulliver," said she, "you know best. But hadn't I better
kill a couple o' fowl, and have th' aunts and uncles to dinner next
week, so as you may hear what Sister Glegg and Sister Pullet have got
to say about it? There's a couple o' fowl _wants_ killing!"
"You may kill every fowl i' the yard if you like, Bessy, but I shall
ask neither aunt nor uncle what I'm to do wi' my own lad," said Mr.
"Dear heart!" said Mrs. Tulliver, "how can you talk so, Mr. Tulliver?
However, if Tom's to go to a new school, I should like him to go where
I can wash him and mend him; else he might as well have calico as
linen, for they'd be one as yallow as th' other before they'd been
washed half a dozen times. And then, when the box is goin' backards
and forrards, I could send the lad a cake, or a pork-pie, or an apple."
"Well, well, we won't send him out o' reach o' the carrier's cart, if
other things fit in," said Mr. Tulliver. "But you mustn't put a spoke
i' the wheel about the washin' if we can't get a school near enough.
But it's an uncommon puzzling thing to know what school to pick."
Mr. Tulliver paused a minute or two, and dived with both hands into his
pockets, as if he hoped to find some idea there. Then he said, "I know
what I'll do, I'll talk it over wi' Riley. He's coming to-morrow."
"Well, Mr. Tulliver, I've put the sheets out for the best bed, and
Kezia's got 'em hanging at the fire. They aren't the best sheets, but
they're good enough for anybody to sleep in, be he who he will."
As Mrs. Tulliver spoke she drew a bright bunch of keys from her pocket,
and singled out one, rubbing her thumb and finger up and down it with a
placid smile while she looked at the clear fire.
"I think I've hit it, Bessy," said Mr. Tulliver, after a short silence.
"Riley's as likely a man as any to know o' some school; he's had
schooling himself, an' goes about to all sorts o' places--auctioneering
and vallyin' and that. I want Tom to be such a sort o' man as Riley,
you know--as can talk pretty nigh as well as if it was all wrote out
for him, and a good solid knowledge o' business too."
"Well," said Mrs. Tulliver, "so far as talking proper, and knowing
everything, and walking with a bend in his back, and setting his hair
up, I shouldn't mind the lad being brought up to that. But them
fine-talking men from the big towns mostly wear the false shirt-fronts;
they wear a frill till it's all a mess, and then hide it with a bib;--I
know Riley does. And then, if Tom's to go and live at Mudport, like
Riley, he'll have a house with a kitchen hardly big enough to turn in,
an' niver get a fresh egg for his breakfast, an' sleep up three pair o'
stairs--or four, for what I know--an' be burnt to death before he can
"No, no," said Mr. Tulliver; "I've no thoughts of his going to Mudport:
I mean him to set up his office at St. Ogg's, close by us, an' live at
home. I doubt Tom's a bit slowish. He takes after your family, Bessy."
"Yes, that he does," said Mrs. Tulliver; "he's wonderful for liking a
deal o' salt in his broth. That was my brother's way, and my father's
"It seems a bit of a pity, though," said Mr. Tulliver, "as the lad
should take after the mother's side instead o' the little wench. The
little un takes after my side, now: she's twice as 'cute as Tom."
"Yes, Mr. Tulliver, and it all runs to naughtiness. How to keep her in
a clean pinafore two hours together passes my cunning. An' now you put
me i' mind," continued Mrs. Tulliver, rising and going to the window,
"I don't know where she is now, an' it's pretty nigh tea-time. Ah, I
thought so--there she is, wanderin' up an' down by the water, like a
wild thing. She'll tumble in some day."
Mrs. Tulliver rapped the window sharply, beckoned, and shook her head.
"You talk o' 'cuteness, Mr. Tulliver," she said as she sat down; "but
I'm sure the child's very slow i' some things, for if I send her
upstairs to fetch anything, she forgets what she's gone for."
"Pooh, nonsense!" said Mr. Tulliver. "She's a straight, black-eyed
wench as anybody need wish to see; and she can read almost as well as
"But her hair won't curl, all I can do with it, and she's so franzy
about having it put i' paper, and I've such work as never was to make
her stand and have it pinched with th' irons."
"Cut it off--cut it off short," said the father rashly.
"How can you talk so, Mr. Tulliver? She's too big a gell--gone nine,
and tall of her age--to have her hair cut short.--Maggie, Maggie,"
continued the mother, as the child herself entered the room, "where's
the use o' my telling you to keep away from the water? You'll tumble
in and be drownded some day, and then you'll be sorry you didn't do as
mother told you."
Maggie threw off her bonnet. Now, Mrs. Tulliver, desiring her daughter
to have a curled crop, had had it cut too short in front to be pushed
behind the ears; and as it was usually straight an hour after it had
been taken out of paper, Maggie was incessantly tossing her head to
keep the dark, heavy locks out of her gleaming black eyes.
"Oh dear, oh dear, Maggie, what are you thinkin' of, to throw your
bonnet down there? Take it upstairs, there's a good gell, an' let your
hair be brushed, an' put your other pinafore on, an' change your
shoes--do, for shame; an' come and go on with your patchwork, like a
"O mother," said Maggie in a very cross tone, "I don't want to do my
"What! not your pretty patchwork, to make a counterpane for your Aunt
"It's silly work," said Maggie, with a toss of her mane--"tearing
things to pieces to sew 'em together again. And I don't want to sew
anything for my Aunt Glegg; I don't like her."
Exit Maggie, drawing her bonnet by the string, while Mr. Tulliver
"I wonder at you as you'll laugh at her, Mr. Tulliver," said the
mother. "An' her aunts will have it as it's _me_ spoils her."
THE CHOICE OF A SCHOOL.
Mr. Riley, who came next day, was a gentleman with a waxen face and fat
hands. He talked with his host for some time about the water supply to
Dorlcote Mill. Then after a short silence Mr. Tulliver changed the
"There's a thing I've got i' my head," said he at last, in rather a
lower tone than usual, as he turned his head and looked at his
"Ah!" said Mr. Riley, in a tone of mild interest.
"It's a very particular thing," Mr. Tulliver went on; "it's about my
At the sound of this name Maggie, who was seated on a low stool close
by the fire, with a large book open on her lap, shook her heavy hair
back and looked up eagerly.
"You see, I want to put him to a new school at Midsummer," said Mr.
Tulliver. "He's comin' away from the 'cademy at Lady Day, an' I shall
let him run loose for a quarter; but after that I want to send him to a
downright good school, where they'll make a scholard of him."
"Well," said Mr. Riley, "there's no greater advantage you can give him
than a good education."
"I don't mean Tom to be a miller and farmer," said Mr. Tulliver; "I see
no fun i' that. Why, if I made him a miller, he'd be expectin' to take
the mill an' the land, an' a-hinting at me as it was time for me to lay
by. Nay, nay; I've seen enough o' that wi' sons."
These words cut Maggie to the quick. Tom was supposed capable of
turning his father out of doors! This was not to be borne; and Maggie
jumped up from her stool, forgetting all about her heavy book, which
fell with a bang within the fender, and going up between her father's
knees said, in a half-crying, half-angry voice,--
"Father, Tom wouldn't be naughty to you ever; I know he wouldn't."
"What! they mustn't say any harm o' Tom, eh?" said Mr. Tulliver,
looking at Maggie with a twinkling eye. Then he added gently, "Go, go
and see after your mother."
"Did you ever hear the like on't?" said Mr. Tulliver as Maggie retired.
"It's a pity but what she'd been the lad."
Mr. Riley laughed, took a pinch of snuff, and said,--
"But your lad's not stupid, is he?" said Mr. Riley. "I saw him, when I
was here last, busy making fishing-tackle; he seemed quite up to it."
"Well, he isn't stupid. He's got a notion o' things out o' door, an' a
sort o' common sense, and he'll lay hold o' things by the right handle.
But he's slow with his tongue, you see, and he reads but poorly, and
can't abide the books, and spells all wrong, they tell me, an' you
never hear him say 'cute things like the little wench. Now, what I
want is to send him to a school where they'll make him a bit nimble
with his tongue and his pen, and make a smart chap of him."
"You're quite in the right of it, Tulliver," observed Mr. Riley.
"Better spend an extra hundred or two on your son's education than
leave it him in your will."
"I dare say, now, you know of a school as 'ud be just the thing for
Tom," said Mr. Tulliver.
Mr. Riley took a pinch of snuff, and waited a little before he said,--
"I know of a very fine chance for any one that's got the necessary
money, and that's what you have, Tulliver. But if any one wanted his
boy to be placed under a first-rate fellow, I know his man. He's an
Oxford man, and a parson. He's willing to take one or two boys as
pupils to fill up his time. The boys would be quite of the family--the
finest thing in the world for them--under Stelling's eye continually."
"But do you think they'd give the poor lad twice o' pudding?" said Mrs.
Tulliver, who was now in her place again.
"And what money 'ud he want?" said Mr. Tulliver.
"Stelling is moderate in his terms; he's not a grasping man," said Mr.
Riley. "I've no doubt he'd take your boy at a hundred. I'll write to
him about it if you like."
Mr. Tulliver rubbed his knees, and looked at the carpet.
"But belike he's a bachelor," observed Mrs. Tulliver, "an' I've no
opinion o' house-keepers. It 'ud break my heart to send Tom where
there's a housekeeper, an' I hope you won't think of it, Mr. Tulliver."
"You may set your mind at rest on that score, Mrs. Tulliver," said Mr.
Riley, "for Stelling is married to as nice a little woman as any man
need wish for a wife. There isn't a kinder little soul in the world."
"Father," broke in Maggie, who had stolen to her father's elbow again,
listening with parted lips, while she held her doll topsy-turvy, and
crushed its nose against the wood of the chair--"father, is it a long
way off where Tom is to go? Shan't we ever go to see him?"
"I don't know, my wench," said the father tenderly. "Ask Mr. Riley; he
Maggie came round promptly in front of Mr. Riley, and said, "How far is
it, please sir?"
"Oh, a long, long way off," that gentleman answered. "You must borrow
the seven-leagued boots to get to him."
"That's nonsense!" said Maggie, tossing her head and turning away with
the tears springing to her eyes.
"Hush, Maggie, for shame of you, chattering so," said her mother.
"Come and sit down on your little stool, and hold your tongue, do.
But," added Mrs. Tulliver, who had her own alarm awakened, "is it so
far off as I couldn't wash him and mend him?"
"About fifteen miles, that's all," said Mr. Riley. "You can drive
there and back in a day quite comfortably. Or--Stelling is a kind,
pleasant man--he'd be glad to have you stay."
"But it's too far off for the linen, I doubt," said Mrs. Tulliver sadly.
TOM COMES HOME.
Tom was to arrive early one afternoon, and there was another fluttering
heart besides Maggie's when it was late enough for the sound of the gig
wheels to be expected; for if Mrs. Tulliver had a strong feeling, it
was fondness for her boy.
At last the sound came, and in spite of the wind, which was blowing the
clouds about, and was not likely to respect Mrs. Tulliver's curls and
cap-strings, she came and stood outside the door with her hand on
"There he is, my sweet lad! But he's got never a collar on; it's been
lost on the road, I'll be bound, and spoilt the set!"
Mrs. Tulliver stood with her arms open; Maggie jumped first on one leg
and then on the other; while Tom stepped down from the gig, and said,
"Hallo, Yap! what, are you there?"
Then he allowed himself to be kissed willingly enough, though Maggie
hung on his neck in rather a strangling fashion, while his blue eyes
wandered towards the croft and the lambs and the river, where he
promised himself that he would begin to fish the first thing to-morrow
morning. He was a lad with light brown hair, cheeks of cream and
roses, and full lips.
"Maggie," said Tom, taking her into a corner as soon as his mother was
gone out to examine his box, "you don't know what I've got in my
pockets," nodding his head up and down as a means of rousing her sense
"No," said Maggie. "How stodgy they look, Tom! Is it marls (marbles)
or cob-nuts?" Maggie's heart sank a little, because Tom always said it
was "no good" playing with her at those games, she played so badly.
"Marls! no. I've swopped all my marls with the little fellows; and
cobnuts are no fun, you silly--only when the nuts are green. But see
here!" He drew something out of his right-hand pocket.
"What is it?" said Maggie in a whisper. "I can see nothing but a bit
"Why, it's a new-- Guess, Maggie!"
"Oh, I can't guess, Tom," said Maggie impatiently.
"Don't be a spitfire, else I won't tell you," said Tom, thrusting his
hand back into his pocket.
"No, Tom," said Maggie, laying hold of the arm that was held stiffly in
the pocket. "I'm not cross, Tom; it was only because I can't bear
guessing. Please be good to me."
Tom's arm slowly relaxed, and he said, "Well, then, it's a new
fish-line--'two new uns--one for you, Maggie, all to yourself. I
wouldn't go halves in the toffee and gingerbread on purpose to save the
money; and Gibson and Spouncer fought with me because I wouldn't. And
here's hooks; see here! I say, won't we go and fish to-morrow down by
Round Pond? And you shall catch your own fish, and put the worms on,
and everything. Won't it be fun!"
Maggie's answer was to throw her arms round Tom's neck and hug him, and
hold her cheek against his without speaking, while he slowly unwound
some of the line, saying, after a pause,--
"Wasn't I a good brother, now, to buy you a line all to yourself? You
know, I needn't have bought it if I hadn't liked!"
"Yes, very, very good. I do love you, Tom."
Tom had put the line back in his pocket, and was looking at the hooks
one by one, before he spoke again.
"And the fellows fought me because I wouldn't give in about the toffee."
"Oh dear! I wish they wouldn't fight at your school, Tom. Didn't it
"Hurt me? No," said Tom, putting up the hooks again. Then he took out
a large pocket-knife, and slowly opened the largest blade and rubbed
his finger along it. At last he said,--
"I gave Spouncer a black eye, I know--that's what he got by wanting to
leather me; I wasn't going to go halves because anybody leathered me."
"Oh, how brave you are, Tom! I think you're like Samson. If there
came a lion roaring at me, I think you'd fight him; wouldn't you, Tom?"
"How can a lion come roaring at you, you silly thing? There's no
lions--only in the shows."
"No; but if we were in the lion countries--I mean, in Africa, where
it's very hot--the lions eat people there. I can show it you in the
book where I read it."
"Well, I should get a gun and shoot him."
"But if you hadn't got a gun. We might have gone out, you know, not
thinking, just as we go fishing; and then a _great_ lion might run
towards us roaring, and we couldn't get away from him. What _should_
you do, Tom?"
Tom paused, and at last turned away, saying, "But the lion isn't
coming. What's the use of talking?"
"But I like to fancy how it would be," said Maggie, following him.
"Just think what you would do, Tom."
"Oh, don't bother, Maggie! you're such a silly. I shall go and see my
Upon this Maggie's heart began to flutter with fear, for she had bad
news for Tom. She dared not tell the sad truth at once, but she walked
after Tom in trembling silence as he went out.
"Tom," she said timidly, when they were out of doors, "how much money
did you give for your rabbits?"
"Two half-crowns and a sixpence," said Tom promptly.
"I think I've got a great deal more than that in my steel purse
upstairs. I'll ask mother to give it you."
"What for?" said Tom. "I don't want your money, you silly thing. I've
got a great deal more money than you, because I'm a boy."
"Well, but, Tom, if mother would let me give you two half-crowns and a
sixpence out of my purse to put into your pocket and spend, you know,
and buy some more rabbits with it."
"More rabbits? I don't want any more."
"Oh, but, Tom, they're all dead!"
Tom stopped, and turned round towards Maggie. "You forgot to feed 'em,
then, and Harry forgot?" he said, his colour rising for a moment.
"I'll pitch into Harry--I'll have him turned away. And I don't love
you, Maggie. You shan't go fishing with me to-morrow. I told you to
go and see the rabbits every day." He walked on again.
"Yes, but I forgot; and I couldn't help it, indeed, Tom. I'm so very
sorry," said Maggie, while the tears rushed fast.
"You're a naughty girl," said Tom severely, "and I'm sorry I bought you
the fish-line. I don't love you."
"O Tom, it's very cruel," sobbed Maggie. "I'd forgive you if you
forgot anything--I wouldn't mind what you did--I'd forgive you and love
"Yes, you're a silly; but I never do forget things--I don't."
"Oh, please forgive me, Tom; my heart will break," said Maggie, shaking
with sobs, clinging to Tom's arm, and laying her wet cheek on his
Tom shook her off. "Now, Maggie, you just listen. Aren't I a good
brother to you?"
"Ye-ye-es," sobbed Maggie.
"Didn't I think about your fish-line all this quarter, and mean to buy
it, and saved my money o' purpose, and wouldn't go halves in the
toffee, and Spouncer fought me because I wouldn't?"
"Ye-ye-es--and I--lo-lo-love you so, Tom."
"But you're a naughty girl. Last holidays you licked the paint off my
lozenge-box; and the holidays before that you let the boat drag my
fish-line down when I'd set you to watch it, and you pushed your head
through my kite, all for nothing."
"But I didn't mean," said Maggie; "I couldn't help it."
"Yes, you could," said Tom, "if you'd minded what you were doing. And
you're a naughty girl, and you shan't go fishing with me to-morrow."
With this Tom ran away from Maggie towards the mill, meaning to greet
Luke there, and complain to him of Harry.
"Oh, he is cruel!" Maggie sobbed aloud. She would stay up in the attic
and starve herself--hide herself behind the tub, and stay there all
night; and then they would all be frightened, and Tom would be sorry.
Thus Maggie thought in the pride of her heart, as she crept behind the
tub; but presently she began to cry again at the idea that they didn't
mind her being there.
Meanwhile, Tom was too much interested in his talk with Luke, and in
going the round of the mill, to think of Maggie at all. But when he
had been called in to tea, his father said, "Why, where's the little
wench?" And Mrs. Tulliver, almost at the same moment, said, "Where's
your little sister?"
"I don't know," said Tom. He didn't want to "tell" of Maggie, though
he was angry with her; for Tom Tulliver was a lad of honour.
"What! hasn't she been playing with you all this while?" said the
father. "She'd been thinking o' nothing but your coming home."
"I haven't seen her this two hours," says Tom.
"Goodness heart! she's got drownded," exclaimed Mrs. Tulliver, rising
from her seat and running to the window.
"Nay, nay, she's none drownded," said Mr. Tulliver.--"You've been
naughty to her, I doubt, Tom?"
"I'm sure I haven't, father," said Tom quickly. "I think she's in the
"Perhaps up in that attic," said Mrs. Tulliver, "a-singing and talking
to herself, and forgetting all about meal-times."
"You go and fetch her down, Tom," said Mr. Tulliver, rather sharply.
"And be good to her, do you hear? Else I'll let you know better."
Maggie, who had taken refuge in the attic, knew Tom's step, and her
heart began to beat with the shock of hope. But he only stood still on
the top of the stairs and said, "Maggie, you're to come down." Then
she rushed to him and clung round his neck, sobbing, "O Tom, please
forgive me! I can't bear it. I will always be good--always remember
things. Do love me--please, dear Tom?" And the boy quite forgot his
desire to punish her as much as she deserved; he actually began to kiss
her in return, and say,--
"Don't cry, then, Magsie; here, eat a bit o' cake."
Maggie's sobs began to subside, and she put out her mouth for the cake
and bit a piece; and then Tom bit a piece, just for company, and they
ate together, and rubbed each other's cheeks and brows and noses
together while they ate like two friendly ponies.
"Come along, Magsie, and have tea," said Tom at last.
So ended the sorrows of this day, and the next morning Maggie was to be
seen trotting out with her own fishing-rod in one hand and a handle of
the basket in the other. She had told Tom, however, that she should
like him to put the worms on the hook for her.
They were on their way to the Round Pool--that wonderful pool which the
floods had made a long while ago. The sight of the old spot always
heightened Tom's good-humour, and he opened the basket and prepared
their tackle. He threw Maggie's line for her, and put the rod into her
hand. She thought it probable that the small fish would come to her
hook, and the large ones to Tom's. But after a few moments she had
forgotten all about the fish, and was looking dreamily at the glassy
water, when Tom said, in a loud whisper, "Look, look, Maggie!" and came
running to prevent her from snatching her line away.
Maggie was frightened lest she had been doing something wrong, as
usual; but presently Tom drew out her line and brought a large tench
bouncing out upon the grass.
Tom was excited.
"O Magsie! you little duck! Empty the basket."
Maggie did not know how clever she had been; but it was quite enough
that Tom called her Magsie, and was pleased with her. There was
nothing to mar her delight in the whispers and the dreamy silences,
when she listened to the light dipping sounds of the rising fish, and
the gentle rustling, as if the willows and the reeds and the water had
their happy whisperings also. Maggie thought it would make a very nice
heaven to sit by the pool in that way, and never be scolded. She never
knew she had a bite until Tom told her, it is true, but she liked
fishing very much.
It was one of their happy mornings. They trotted along and sat down
together, with no thought that life would ever change much for them.
They would only get bigger and not go to school, and it would always be
like the holidays; they would always live together, and be very, very
fond of each other.
ALL ABOUT A JAM PUFF.
It was Easter week, and Mrs. Tulliver's cheese-cakes were even more
light than usual, so that no season could have been better for a family
party to consult Sister Glegg and Sister Pullet and Sister Deane about
Tom's going to school.
On Wednesday, the day before the aunts and uncles were coming, Tom and
Maggie made several inroads into the kitchen, where great preparations
were being made, and were induced to keep aloof for a time only by
being allowed to carry away some of the good things to eat.
"Tom," said Maggie, as they sat on the boughs of the elder tree, eating
their jam puffs, "shall you run away to-morrow?"
"No," said Tom slowly--"no, I shan't."
"Why, Tom? Because Lucy's coming?"
"No," said Tom, opening his pocket-knife and holding it over the last
jam puff, with his head on one side. "What do I care about Lucy?
She's only a girl; she can't play at bandy."
"Is it the tipsy-cake, then?" said Maggie, while she leaned forward
towards Tom with her eyes fixed on the knife.
"No, you silly; that'll be good the day after. It's the pudding. I
know what the pudding's to be--apricot roll-up--oh, my buttons!"
With this the knife came down on the puff, and in a moment that dainty
lay in two; but the result was not pleasing to Tom, and after a few
moments' thought he said,--
"Shut your eyes, Maggie."
"You never mind what for. Shut 'em, when I tell you." Maggie obeyed.
"Now which'll you have, Maggie--right hand or left?"
"I'll have that with the jam run out," said Maggie, keeping her eyes
shut to please Tom.
"Why, you don't like that, you silly. You may have it if it comes to
you fair, but I shan't give it you without. Right or left?--you
choose, now. Ha-a-a!" said Tom, as Maggie peeped. "You keep your eyes
shut, now, else you shan't have any."
So Maggie shut her eyes quite close, till Tom told her to "say which,"
and then she said, "Left hand."
"You've got it," said Tom, in rather a bitter tone.
"What! the bit with the jam run out?"
"No; here, take it," said Tom firmly, handing the best piece to Maggie.
"Oh please, Tom, have it. I don't mind; I like the other. Please take
"No, I shan't," said Tom, almost crossly.
Maggie began to eat up her half puff with great relish; But Tom had
finished his own first, and had to look on while Maggie ate her last
morsel or two without noticing that Tom was looking at her.
"Oh, you greedy thing!" said Tom, when she had eaten the last morsel.
Maggie turned quite pale. "O Tom, why didn't you ask me?"
"I wasn't going to ask you for a bit, you greedy. You might have
thought of it without, when you knew I gave you the best bit."
"But I wanted you to have it--you know I did," said Maggie, in an
"Yes; but I wasn't going to do what wasn't fair. But if I go halves,
I'll go 'em fair--only I wouldn't be a greedy."
With this Tom jumped down from his bough, and threw a stone with a
"hoigh!" to Yap, who had also been looking on wistfully while the jam
Maggie sat still on her bough, and gave herself up to misery. She
would have given the world not to have eaten all her puff, and to have
saved some of it for Tom. Not but that the puff was very nice; but she
would have gone without it many times over sooner than Tom should call
her greedy and be cross with her.
And he had said he wouldn't have it; and she ate it without thinking.
How could she help it? The tears flowed so plentifully that Maggie saw
nothing around her for the next ten minutes; then she jumped from her
bough to look for Tom. He was no longer near her, nor in the paddock
behind the rickyard. Where was he likely to be gone, and Yap with him?
Maggie ran to the high bank against the great holly-tree, where she
could see far away towards the Floss. There was Tom in the distance;
but her heart sank again as she saw how far off he was on his way to
the great river, and that he had another companion besides Yap--naughty
Bob Jakin, whose task of frightening the birds was just now at a
It must be owned that Tom was fond of Bob's company. How could it be
otherwise? Bob knew, directly he saw a bird's egg, whether it was a
swallow's, or a tom-tit's, or a yellow-hammer's; he found out all the
wasps' nests, and could set all sorts of traps; he could climb the
trees like a squirrel, and had quite a magical power of finding
hedgehogs and stoats; and every holiday-time Maggie was sure to have
days of grief because Tom had gone off with Bob.
Well, there was no help for it. He was gone now, and Maggie could
think of no comfort but to sit down by the holly, or wander lonely by
the hedgerow, nursing her grief.
THE FAMILY PARTY.
On the day of the family party Aunt Glegg was the first to arrive, and
she was followed not long afterwards by Aunt Pullet and her husband.
Maggie and Tom, on their part, thought their Aunt Pullet tolerable,
because she was not their Aunt Glegg. Tom always declined to go more
than once during his holidays to see either of them. Both his uncles
tipped him that once, of course; but at his Aunt Pullet's there were a
great many toads to pelt in the cellar-area, so that he preferred the
visit to her. Maggie disliked the toads, and dreamed of them horribly;
but she liked her Uncle Pullet's musical snuff-box.
When Maggie and Tom came in from the garden with their father and their
Uncle Glegg, they found that Aunt Deane and Cousin Lucy had also
arrived. Maggie had thrown her bonnet off very carelessly, and coming
in with her hair rough as well as out of curl, rushed at once to Lucy,
who was standing by her mother's knee.
Lucy put up the neatest little rosebud mouth to be kissed. Everything
about her was neat--her little round neck with the row of coral beads;
her little straight nose, not at all snubby; her little clear eyebrows,
rather darker than her curls to match her hazel eyes, which looked up
with shy pleasure at Maggie, taller by the head, though scarcely a year
"O Lucy," burst out Maggie, after kissing her, "you'll stay with Tom
and me, won't you?--Oh, kiss her, Tom."
Tom, too, had come up to Lucy, but he was not going to kiss her--no; he
came up to her with Maggie because it seemed easier, on the whole, than
saying, "How do you do?" to all those aunts and uncles.
"Heyday!" said Aunt Glegg loudly. "Do little boys and gells come into
a room without taking notice o' their uncles and aunts? That wasn't
the way when _I_ was a little gell."
"Go and speak to your aunts and uncles, my dears," said Mrs. Tulliver.
She wanted also to whisper to Maggie a command to go and have her hair
"Well, and how do you do? And I hope you're good children--are you?"
said Aunt Glegg, in the same loud way, as she took their hands, hurting
them with her large rings, and kissing their cheeks, much against their
desire. "Look up, Tom, look up. Boys as go to boarding-schools should
hold their heads up. Look at me now." Tom would not do so, and tried
to draw his hand away. "Put your hair behind your ears, Maggie, and
keep your frock on your shoulder."
Aunt Glegg always spoke to them in this loud way, as if she thought
them quite deaf, or perhaps rather silly.
"Well, my dears," said Aunt Pullet sadly, "you grow wonderful fast.--I
doubt they'll outgrow their strength," she added, looking over their
heads at their mother. "I think the gell has too much hair. I'd have
it thinned and cut shorter, sister, if I was you. It isn't good for
her health. It's that as makes her skin so brown, I shouldn't
wonder.--Don't you think so, Sister Deane?"
"I can't say, I'm sure, sister," said Mrs. Deane.
"No, no," said Mr. Tulliver, "the child's healthy enough--there's
nothing ails her. There's red wheat as well as white, for that matter,
and some like the dark grain best. But it 'ud be as well if Bessy 'ud
have the child's hair cut, so as it 'ud lie smooth."
Maggie now wished to learn from her Aunt Deane whether she would leave
Lucy behind to stay at the mill. Aunt Deane would hardly ever let Lucy
come to see them, to Maggie's great regret.
"You wouldn't like to stay behind without mother, should you, Lucy?"
she said to her little daughter.
"Yes, please, mother," said Lucy timidly, blushing very pink all over
her little neck.
"Well done, Lucy!--Let her stay, Mrs. Deane, let her stay," said Mr.
Deane, a large man, who held a silver snuff-box very tightly in his
hand, and now and then exchanged a pinch with Mr. Tulliver.
"Maggie," said Mrs. Tulliver, beckoning Maggie to her, and whispering
in her ear, as soon as this point of Lucy's staying was settled, "go
and get your hair brushed--do, for shame. I told you not to come in
without going to Martha first; you know I did."
"Tom, come out with me," whispered Maggie, pulling his sleeve as she
passed him; and Tom followed willingly enough.
"Come upstairs with me, Tom," she whispered, when they were outside the
door. "There's something I want to do before dinner."
"There's no time to play at anything before dinner," said Tom.
"Oh yes, there is time for this. Do come, Tom."
Tom followed Maggie upstairs into her mother's room, and saw her go at
once to a drawer, from which she took a large pair of scissors.
"What are they for, Maggie?" said Tom.
Maggie answered by seizing her front locks and cutting them straight
across the middle of her forehead.
"Oh, my buttons, Maggie, you'll catch it!" exclaimed Tom; "you'd better
not cut any more off."
Snip went the great scissors again while Tom was speaking; and he
couldn't help feeling it was rather good fun--Maggie would look so
"Here, Tom, cut it behind for me," said Maggie, much excited.
"You'll catch it, you know," said Tom as he took the scissors.
"Never mind; make haste!" said Maggie, giving a little stamp with her
foot. Her cheeks were quite flushed.
One delicious grinding snip, and then another and another. The hinder
locks fell heavily on the floor, and soon Maggie stood cropped in a
jagged, uneven manner.
"O Maggie!" said Tom, jumping round her, and slapping his knees as he
laughed--"oh, my buttons, what a queer thing you look! Look at
yourself in the glass."
Maggie felt an unexpected pang. She didn't want her hair to look
pretty--she only wanted people to think her a clever little girl, and
not to find fault with her untidy head. But now, when Tom began to
laugh at her, the affair had quite a new aspect. She looked in the
glass, and still Tom laughed and clapped his hands, while Maggie's
flushed cheeks began to pale and her lips to tremble a little.
"O Maggie, you'll have to go down to dinner directly," said Tom. "Oh
"Don't laugh at me, Tom," said Maggie, with an outburst of angry tears,
stamping, and giving him a push.
"Now, then, spitfire!" said Tom. "What did you cut it off for, then?
I shall go down; I can smell the dinner going in."
He hurried downstairs at once. Maggie could see clearly enough, now
the thing was done, that it was very foolish, and that she should have
to hear and think more about her hair than ever. As she stood crying
before the glass she felt it impossible to go down to dinner and endure
the severe eyes and severe words of her aunts, while Tom, and Lucy, and
Martha, who waited at table, and perhaps her father and her uncles,
would laugh at her--for if Tom had laughed at her, of course every one
else would; and if she had only let her hair alone, she could have sat
with Tom and Lucy, and had the apricot pudding and the custard!
"Miss Maggie, you're to come down this minute," said Kezia, entering
the room after a few moments. "Lawks! what have you been a-doing? I
niver see such a fright."
"Don't, Kezia," said Maggie angrily. "Go away!"
"But I tell you, you're to come down, miss, this minute; your mother
says so," said Kezia, going up to Maggie and taking her by the hand to
raise her from the floor, on which she had thrown herself.
"Get away, Kezia; I don't want any dinner," said Maggie, resisting
Kezia's arm. "I shan't come."
"Oh, well, I can't stay. I've got to wait at dinner," said Kezia,
going out again.
"Maggie, you little silly," said Tom, peeping into the room ten minutes
later, "why don't you come and have your dinner? There's lots o'
goodies, and mother says you're to come."
Oh, it was dreadful! Tom was so hard. If _he_ had been crying on the
floor, Maggie would have cried too. And there was the dinner, so nice,
and she was so hungry. It was very bitter.
But Tom was not altogether hard. He was not inclined to cry, but he
went and put his head near her and said in a lower, comforting tone,--
"Won't you come, then, Magsie? Shall I bring you a bit o' pudding when
I've had mine, and a custard and things?"
"Ye-e-es," said Maggie, beginning to feel life a little more tolerable.
"Very well," said Tom, going away. But he turned again at the door and
said, "But you'd better come, you know. There's the dessert--nuts, you
know, and cowslip wine."
Slowly she rose from amongst her scattered locks, and slowly she made
her way downstairs. Then she stood leaning with one shoulder against
the frame of the dining-parlour door, peeping in as it stood ajar. She
saw Tom and Lucy with an empty chair between them, and there were the
custards on a side-table. It was too much. She slipped in and went
towards the empty chair. But she had no sooner sat down than she
wished herself back again.
Mrs. Tulliver gave a little scream as she saw her, and felt such a
"turn" that she dropped the large gravy-spoon into the dish, with the
most serious results to the table-cloth.
Mrs. Tulliver's scream made all eyes turn towards the same point as her
own, and Maggie's cheeks and ears began to burn, while Uncle Glegg, a
kind-looking, white-haired old gentleman, said,--
"Heyday! What little gell's this? Why, I don't know her. Is it some
little gell you've picked up in the road, Kezia?"
"Why, she's gone and cut her hair herself," said Mr. Tulliver in an
undertone to Mr. Deane, laughing with much enjoyment. "Did you ever
know such a little hussy as it is?"
"Why, little miss, you've made yourself look very funny," said Uncle
"Fie, for shame!" said Aunt Glegg in her loudest tone. "Little gells
as cut their own hair should be whipped, and fed on bread and
water--not come and sit down with their aunts and uncles."
"Ay, ay," said Uncle Glegg playfully "she must be sent to jail, I
think, and they'll cut the rest off there, and make it all even."
"She's more like a gipsy nor ever," said Aunt Pullet in a pitying tone.
"It's very bad luck, sister, as the gell should be so brown; the boy's
fair enough. I doubt it'll stand in her way i' life, to be so brown."
"She's a naughty child, as'll break her mother's heart," said Mrs.
Tulliver, with the tears in her eyes.
"Oh my, Maggie," whispered Tom, "I told you you'd catch it."
The child's heart swelled, and getting up from her chair she ran to her
father, hid her face on his shoulder, and burst out into loud sobbing.
"Come, come, my wench," said her father soothingly, putting his arm
round her, "never mind; you was i' the right to cut it off if it
plagued you. Give over crying; father'll take your part."
"How your husband does spoil that child, Bessy," said Mrs. Glegg in a
loud "aside" to Mrs. Tulliver. "It'll be the ruin of her if you don't
take care. My father niver brought his children up so, else we should
ha' been a different sort o' family to what we are."
Mrs. Tulliver took no notice of her sister's remark, but threw back her
cap-strings and served the pudding in silence.
When the dessert came the children were told they might have their nuts
and wine in the summer-house, since the day was so mild; and they
scampered out among the budding bushes of the garden like small animals
getting from under a burning-glass.
THE MAGIC MUSIC.
The children were to pay an afternoon visit on the following day to
Aunt Pullet at Garum Firs, where they would hear Uncle Pullet's
Already, at twelve o'clock, Mrs. Tulliver had on her visiting costume.
Maggie was frowning, and twisting her shoulders, that she might, if
possible, shrink away from the prickliest of tuckers; while her mother
was saying, "Don't, Maggie, my dear--don't look so ugly!" Tom's cheeks
were looking very red against his best blue suit, in the pockets of
which he had, to his great joy, stowed away all the contents of his
As for Lucy, she was just as pretty and neat as she had been yesterday,
and she looked with wondering pity at Maggie pouting and writhing under
the tucker. While waiting for the time to set out, they were allowed
to build card-houses, as a suitable amusement for boys and girls in
their best clothes.
Tom could build splendid houses, but Maggie's would never bear the
laying on of the roof. It was always so with the things that Maggie
made, and Tom said that no girls could ever make anything.
But it happened that Lucy was very clever at building; she handled the
cards so lightly, and moved so gently, that Tom admired her houses as
well as his own--the more readily because she had asked him to teach
her. Maggie, too, would have admired Lucy's houses if Tom had not
laughed when her houses fell, and told her that she was "a stupid."
"Don't laugh at me, Tom!" she burst out angrily. "I'm not a stupid. I
know a great many things you don't."
"Oh, I dare say, Miss Spitfire! I'd never be such a cross thing as
you--making faces like that. Lucy doesn't do so. I like Lucy better
than you. I wish Lucy was _my_ sister."
"Then it's wicked and cruel of you to wish so," said Maggie, starting
up from her place on the floor and upsetting Tom's wonderful pagoda.
She really did not mean it, but appearances were against her, and Tom
turned white with anger, but said nothing. He would have struck her,
only he knew it was cowardly to strike a girl.
Maggie stood in dismay and terror while Tom got up from the floor and
walked away. Lucy looked on mutely, like a kitten pausing from its
"O Tom," said Maggie at last, going half-way towards him, "I didn't
mean to knock it down--indeed, indeed, I didn't."
Tom took no notice of her, but took, instead, two or three hard peas
out of his pocket, and shot them with his thumbnail against the window,
with the object of hitting a bluebottle which was sporting in the
Thus the morning had been very sad to Maggie, and when at last they set
out Tom's coldness to her all through their walk spoiled the fresh air
and sunshine for her. He called Lucy to look at the half-built bird's
nest without caring to show it to Maggie, and peeled a willow switch
for Lucy and himself without offering one to Maggie. Lucy had said,
"Maggie, shouldn't _you_ like one?" but Tom was deaf.
Still, the sight of the peacock spreading his tail on the stackyard
wall, just as they reached the aunt's house, was enough to turn the
mind from sadness. And this was only the beginning of beautiful sights
at Garum Firs.
All the farmyard life was wonderful there--bantams, speckled and
top-knotted; Friesland hens, with their feathers all turned the wrong
way; Guinea-fowls that flew and screamed, and dropped their
pretty-spotted feathers; pouter pigeons, and a tame magpie; nay, a
goat, and a wonderful dog, half mastiff, half bull-dog, as large as a
Uncle Pullet had seen the party from the window, and made haste to
unbar and unchain the front door. Aunt Pullet, too, appeared at the
doorway, and as soon as her sister was within hearing said, "Stop the
children, Bessy; don't let 'em come up the doorsteps. Sally's bringing
the old mat and the duster to rub their shoes."
"You must come with me into the best room," she went on as soon as her
guests had passed the portal.
"May the children come too, sister?" inquired Mrs. Tulliver, who saw
that Maggie and Lucy were looking rather eager.
"Well," said Aunt Pullet, "it'll perhaps be safer for the girls to
come; they'll be touching something if we leave 'em behind."
When they all came down again Uncle Pullet said that he reckoned the
missis had been showing her bonnet--that was what had made them so long
Meanwhile Tom had spent the time on the edge of the sofa directly
opposite his Uncle Pullet, who looked at him with twinkling gray eyes
and spoke to him as "young sir."
"Well, young sir, what do you learn at school?" was the usual question
with Uncle Pullet; whereupon Tom always looked sheepish, rubbed his
hand across his face, and answered, "I don't know."
The appearance of the little girls made Uncle Pullet think of some
small sweetcakes, of which he kept a stock under lock and key for his
own private eating on wet days; but the three children had no sooner
got them between their fingers than Aunt Pullet desired them to abstain
from eating till the tray and the plates came, since with those crisp
cakes they would make the floor "all over" crumbs.
Lucy didn't mind that much, for the cake was so pretty she thought it
was rather a pity to eat it; but Tom, watching his chance while the
elders were talking, hastily stowed his own cake in his mouth at two
bites. As for Maggie, she presently let fall her cake, and by an
unlucky movement crushed it beneath her foot--a source of such disgrace
to her that she began to despair of hearing the musical snuff-box
to-day, till it occurred to her that Lucy was in high favour enough to
venture on asking for a tune.
So she whispered to Lucy, and Lucy, who always did what she was asked
to do, went up quietly to her uncle's knee, and, blushing all over her
neck while she fingered her necklace, said, "Will you please play us a
tune, uncle?" But Uncle Pullet never gave a too ready consent. "We'll
see about it," was the answer he always gave, waiting till a suitable
number of minutes had passed.
Perhaps the waiting increased Maggie's enjoyment when the tune began.
For the first time she quite forgot that she had a load on her
mind--that Tom was angry with her; and by the time "Hush, ye pretty
warbling choir" had been played, her face wore that bright look of
happiness, while she sat still with her hands clasped, which sometimes
comforted her mother that Maggie could look pretty now and then, in
spite of her brown skin. But when the magic music ceased, she jumped
up, and running towards Tom, put her arm round his neck and said, "O
Tom, isn't it pretty?"
Now Tom had his glass of cowslip wine in his hand, and Maggie jerked
him so as to make him spill half of it. He would have been an extreme
milksop if he had not said angrily, "Look there, now!"
"Why don't you sit still, Maggie?" her mother said peevishly.
"Little gells mustn't come to see me if they behave in that way," said
"Why, you're too rough, little miss," said Uncle Pullet.
Poor Maggie sat down again, with the music all chased out of her soul.
Mrs. Tulliver wisely took an early opportunity of suggesting that, now
they were rested after their walk, the children might go and play out
of doors; and Aunt Pullet gave them leave, only telling them not to go
off the paved walks in the garden, and if they wanted to see the
poultry fed, to view them from a distance on the horse-block.
For a long time after the children had gone out the elders sat deep in
talk about family matters, till at last Mrs. Pullet, observing that it
was tea-time, turned to reach from a drawer a fine damask napkin, which
she pinned before her in the fashion of an apron. Then the door was
thrown open; but instead of the tea-tray, Sally brought in an object so
startling that both Mrs. Pullet and Mrs. Tulliver gave a scream,
causing Uncle Pullet to swallow a lozenge he was sucking--for the fifth
time in his life, as he afterwards noted.
The startling object was no other than little Lucy, with one side of
her person, from her small foot to her bonnet-crown, wet and
discoloured with mud, holding out two tiny blackened hands, and making
a very piteous face.
MAGGIE IS VERY NAUGHTY.
As soon as the children reached the open air Tom said, "Here, Lucy, you
come along with me," and walked off to the place where the toads were,
as if there were no Maggie in existence. Lucy was naturally pleased
that Cousin Tom was so good to her, and it was very amusing to see him
tickling a fat toad with a piece of string, when the toad was safe down
the area, with an iron grating over him.
Still Lucy wished Maggie to enjoy the sight also, especially as she
would doubtless find a name for the toad, and say what had been his
past history; for Lucy loved Maggie's stories about the live things
they came upon by accident--how Mrs. Earwig had a wash at home, and one
of her children had fallen into the hot copper, for which reason she
was running so fast to fetch the doctor. So now the desire to know the
history of a very portly toad made her run back to Maggie and say, "Oh,
there is such a big, funny toad, Maggie! Do come and see."
Maggie said nothing, but turned away from her with a deep frown. She
was actually beginning to think that she should like to make Lucy cry,
by slapping or pinching her, especially as it might vex Tom, whom it
was of no use to slap, even if she dared, because he didn't mind it.
And if Lucy hadn't been there, Maggie was sure he would have made
friends with her sooner.
Tickling a fat toad is an amusement that does not last, and Tom
by-and-by began to look round for some other mode of passing the time.
But in so prim a garden, where they were not to go off the paved walks,
there was not a great choice of sport.
"I say, Lucy," he began, nodding his head up and down, as he coiled up
his string again, "what do you think I mean to do?"
"What, Tom?" said Lucy.
"I mean to go to the pond and look at the pike. You may go with me if
"O Tom, dare you?" said Lucy. "Aunt said we mustn't go out of the
"Oh, I shall go out at the other end of the garden," said Tom. "Nobody
'ull see us. Besides, I don't care if they do; I'll run off home."
"But I couldn't run," said Lucy.
"Oh, never mind; they won't be cross with you," said Tom. "You say I
Tom walked along, and Lucy trotted by his side. Maggie saw them
leaving the garden, and could not resist the impulse to follow. She
kept a few yards behind them unseen by Tom, who was watching for the
pike--a highly interesting monster; he was said to be so very old, so
very large, and to have such a great appetite.
"Here, Lucy," he said in a loud whisper, "come here."
Lucy came carefully as she was bidden, and bent down to look at what
seemed a golden arrow-head darting through the water. It was a
water-snake, Tom told her; and Lucy at last could see the wave of its
body, wondering very much that a snake could swim.
Maggie had drawn nearer and nearer; she must see it too, though it was
bitter to her, like everything else, since Tom did not care about her
seeing it. At last she was close by Lucy, and Tom turned round and
"Now, get away, Maggie. There's no room for you on the grass here.
Nobody asked _you_ to come."
Then Maggie, with a fierce thrust of her small brown arm, pushed poor
little pink-and-white Lucy into the cow-trodden mud.
Tom could not restrain himself, and gave Maggie two smart slaps on the
arm as he ran to pick up Lucy, who lay crying helplessly. Maggie
retreated to the roots of a tree a few yards off, and looked on. Why
should she be sorry? Tom was very slow to forgive _her_, however sorry
she might have been.
"I shall tell mother, you know, Miss Mag," said Tom, as soon as Lucy
was up and ready to walk away. It was not Tom's practice to "tell,"
but here justice clearly demanded that Maggie should be visited with
the utmost punishment.
"Sally," said Tom, when they reached the kitchen door--"Sally, tell
mother it was Maggie pushed Lucy into the mud."
Sally, as we have seen, lost no time in presenting Lucy at the parlour
"Goodness gracious!" Aunt Pullet exclaimed, after giving a scream;
"keep her at the door, Sally! Don't bring her off the oilcloth,
whatever you do."
"Why, she's tumbled into some nasty mud," said Mrs. Tulliver, going up
"If you please, 'um, it was Miss Maggie as pushed her in," said Sally.
"Master Tom's been and said so; and they must ha' been to the pond, for
it's only there they could ha' got into such dirt."
"There it is, Bessy; it's what I've been telling you," said Mrs.
Pullet. "It's your children; there's no knowing what they'll come to."
Mrs. Tulliver went out to speak to these naughty children, supposing
them to be close at hand; but it was not until after some search that
she found Tom leaning with rather a careless air against the white
paling of the poultry-yard, and lowering his piece of string on the
other side as a means of teasing the turkey-cock.
"Tom, you naughty boy, where's your sister?" said Mrs. Tulliver in a
"I don't know," said Tom.
"Why, where did you leave her?" said his mother, looking round.
"Sitting under the tree against the pond," said Tom.
"Then go and fetch her in this minute, you naughty boy. And how could
you think o' going to the pond, and taking your sister where there was
dirt? You know she'll do mischief, if there's mischief to be done."
The idea of Maggie sitting alone by the pond roused a fear in Mrs.
Tulliver's mind, and she mounted the horse-block to satisfy herself by
a sight of that fatal child, while Tom walked--not very quickly--on his
way towards her.
"They're such children for the water, mine are," she said aloud,
without reflecting that there was no one to hear her; "they'll be
brought in dead and drownded some day. I wish that river was far
But when she not only failed to see Maggie, but presently saw Tom
returning from the pond alone, she hurried to meet him.
"Maggie's nowhere about the pond, mother," said Tom; "she's gone away."
MAGGIE AND THE GIPSIES.
After Tom and Lucy had walked away, Maggie's quick mind formed a plan
which was not so simple as that of going home. No; she would run away
and go to the gipsies, and Tom should never see her any more. She had
been often told she was like a gipsy, and "half wild;" so now she would
go and live in a little brown tent on the common.
The gipsies, she considered, would gladly receive her, and pay her much
respect on account of her superior knowledge. She had once mentioned
her views on this point to Tom, and suggested that he should stain his
face brown, and they should run away together; but Tom rejected the
scheme with contempt, observing that gipsies were thieves, and hardly
got anything to eat, and had nothing to drive but a donkey. To-day,
however, Maggie thought her misery had reached a pitch at which
gipsydom was her only refuge, and she rose from her seat on the roots
of the tree with the sense that this was a great crisis in her life.
She would run straight away till she came to Dunlow Common, where there
would certainly be gipsies; and cruel Tom, and the rest of her
relations who found fault with her, should never see her any more. She
thought of her father as she ran along, but made up her mind that she
would secretly send him a letter by a small gipsy, who would run away
without telling where she was, and just let him know that she was well
and happy, and always loved him very much.
Maggie soon got out of breath with running, but by the time that Tom
got to the pond again she was at the distance of three long fields, and
was on the edge of the lane leading to the highroad.
She presently passed through the gate into the lane, and she was soon
aware, not without trembling, that there were two men coming along the
lane in front of her.
She had not thought of meeting strangers; and, to her surprise, while
she was dreading their scolding as a runaway, one of the men stopped,
and in a half-whining, half-coaxing tone asked her if she had a copper
to give a poor fellow.
Maggie had a sixpence in her pocket--her Uncle Glegg's present--which
she drew out and gave this "poor fellow" with a polite smile. "That's
the only money I've got," she said. "Thank you, little miss," said the
man in a less grateful tone than Maggie expected, and she even saw that
he smiled and winked at his companion.
She now went on, and turning through the first gate that was not
locked, crept along by the hedgerows. She was used to wandering about
the fields by herself, and was less timid there than on the highroad.
Sometimes she had to climb over high gates, but that was a small evil;
she was getting out of reach very fast, and she should probably soon
come within sight of Dunlow Common. She hoped so, for she was getting
rather tired and hungry. It was still broad daylight, yet it seemed to
her that she had been walking a very great distance indeed, and it was
really surprising that the common did not come in sight.
At last, however, the green fields came to an end, and Maggie found
herself looking through the bars of a gate into a lane with a wide
margin of grass on each side of it. She crept through the bars of the
gate and walked on with a new spirit, and at the next bend in the lane
Maggie actually saw the little black tent with the blue smoke rising
before it which was to be her refuge. She even saw a tall female
figure by the column of smoke--doubtless the gipsy-mother, who provided
the tea and other groceries; it was astonishing to herself that she did
not feel more delighted. But it was startling to find the gipsies in a
lane after all, and not on a common--indeed, it was rather
disappointing; for a mysterious common, where there were sand-pits to
hide in, and one was out of everybody's reach, had always made part of
Maggie's picture of gipsy life.
She went on, however, and before long a tall figure, who proved to be a
young woman with a baby on her arm, walked slowly to meet her. Maggie
looked up in the new face and thought that her Aunt Pullet and the rest
were right when they called her a gipsy; for this face, with the bright
dark eyes and the long hair, was really something like what she used to
see in her own glass before she cut her hair off.
"My little lady, where are you going to?" the gipsy said.
It was delightful, and just what Maggie expected--the gipsy saw at once
that she was a little lady.
"Not any farther," said Maggie. "I'm come to stay with you, please."
"That's pritty; come, then. Why, what a nice little lady you are, to
be sure!" said the gipsy, taking her by the hand. Maggie thought her
very nice, but wished she had not been so dirty.
There was quite a group round the fire when they reached it. An old
gipsy-woman was seated on the ground nursing her knees, and poking a
skewer into the round kettle that sent forth an odorous steam; two
small, shock-headed children were lying down resting on their elbows;
and a donkey was bending his head over a tall girl, who, lying on her
back, was scratching his nose and feeding him with a bite of excellent
The slanting sunlight fell kindly upon them, and the scene was really
very pretty and comfortable, Maggie thought, only she hoped they would
soon set out the tea-cups. It was a little confusing, though, that the
young woman began to speak to the old one in a language which Maggie
did not understand, while the tall girl who was feeding the donkey sat
up and stared at her. At last the old woman said,--
"What, my pretty lady, are you come to stay with us? Sit ye down, and
tell us where you come from."
[Illustration: "My pretty lady, are you come to stay with us?"]
It was just like a story. Maggie liked to be called pretty lady and
treated in this way. She sat down and said,--
"I'm come from home because I'm unhappy, and I mean to be a gipsy.
I'll live with you, if you like, and I can teach you a great many
"Such a clever little lady," said the woman with the baby, sitting down
by Maggie, and allowing baby to crawl; "and such a pritty bonnet and
frock," she added, taking off Maggie's bonnet and looking at it while
she spoke to the old woman in the unknown language. The tall girl
snatched the bonnet and put it on her own head hind-foremost with a
grin; but Maggie was determined not to show that she cared about her
"I don't want to wear a bonnet," she said; "I'd rather wear a red
handkerchief, like yours" (looking at her friend by her side). "My
hair was quite long till yesterday, when I cut it off; but I dare say
it will grow again very soon."
"Oh, what a nice little lady!--and rich, I'm sure," said the old woman.
"Didn't you live in a beautiful house at home?"
"Yes, my home is pretty, and I'm very fond of the river, where we go
fishing; but I'm often very unhappy. I should have liked to bring my
books with me, but I came away in a hurry, you know. But I can tell
you almost everything there is in my books, I've read them so many
times, and that will amuse you. And I can tell you something about
geography too--that's about the world we live in--very useful and
interesting. Did you ever hear about Columbus?"
"Is that where you live, my little lady?" said the old woman at the
mention of Columbus.
"Oh no!" said Maggie, with some pity. "Columbus was a very wonderful
man, who found out half the world; and they put chains on him and
treated him very badly, you know--but perhaps it's rather too long to
tell before tea. _I want my tea so_."
"Why, she's hungry, poor little lady," said the younger woman. "Give
her some o' the cold victual.--You've been walking a good way, I'll be
bound, my dear. Where's your home?"
"It's Dorlcote Mill--a good way off," said Maggie. "My father is Mr.
Tulliver; but we mustn't let him know where I am, else he'll fetch me
home again. Where does the queen of the gipsies live?"
"What! do you want to go to her, my little lady?" said the younger
"No," said Maggie; "I'm only thinking that if she isn't a very good
queen you might be glad when she died, and you could choose another.
If I was a queen, I'd be a very good queen, and kind to everybody."
"Here's a bit o' nice victual, then," said the old woman, handing to
Maggie a lump of dry bread, which she had taken from a bag of scraps,
and a piece of cold bacon.
"Thank you," said Maggie, looking at the food without taking it; "but
will you give me some bread and butter and tea instead? I don't like
"We've got no tea nor butter," said the old woman with something like a
"Oh, a little bread and treacle would do," said Maggie.
"We han't got no treacle," said the old woman crossly.
Meanwhile the tall girl gave a shrill cry, and presently there came
running up a rough urchin about the age of Tom. He stared at Maggie,
and she felt very lonely, and was quite sure she should begin to cry
before long. But the springing tears were checked when two rough men
came up, while a black cur ran barking up to Maggie, and threw her into
a tremor of fear.
Maggie felt that it was impossible she should ever be queen of _these_
"This nice little lady's come to live with us," said the young woman.
"Aren't you glad?"
"Ay, very glad," said the younger man, who was soon examining Maggie's
silver thimble and other small matters that had been taken from her
pocket. He returned them all except the thimble to the younger woman,
and she immediately restored them to Maggie's pocket, while the men
seated themselves, and began to attack the contents of the kettle--a
stew of meat and potatoes--which had been taken off the fire and turned
out into a yellow platter.
THE GIPSY QUEEN ABDICATES.
Maggie began to think that Tom must be right about the gipsies: they
must certainly be thieves, unless the man meant to return her thimble
by-and-by. All thieves, except Robin Hood, were wicked people.
The women now saw she was frightened.
"We've got nothing nice for a lady to eat," said the old woman, in her
coaxing tone. "And she's so hungry, sweet little lady!"
"Here, my dear, try if you can eat a bit o' this," said the younger
woman, handing some of the stew on a brown dish with an iron spoon to
Maggie, who dared not refuse it, though fear had chased away her
appetite. If her father would but come by in the gig and take her up!
Or even if Jack the Giantkiller, or Mr. Greatheart, or St. George who
slew the dragon on the half-pennies, would happen to pass that way!
"What! you don't like the smell of it, my dear," said the young woman,
observing that Maggie did not even take a spoonful of the stew. "Try a
"No, thank you," said Maggie, trying to smile in a friendly way. "I
haven't time, I think--it seems getting darker. I think I must go home
now, and come again another day, and then I can bring you a basket with
some jam-tarts and things."
Maggie rose from her seat, when the old gipsy-woman said, "Stop a bit,
stop a bit, little lady; we'll take you home all safe when we've done
supper. You shall ride home like a lady."
Maggie sat down again, with little faith in this promise, though she
presently saw the tall girl putting a bridle on the donkey and throwing
a couple of bags on his back.
"Now, then, little missis," said the younger man, rising and leading
the donkey forward, "tell us where you live. What's the name o' the
"Dorlcote Mill is my home," said Maggie eagerly. "My father is Mr.
Tulliver; he lives there."
"What! a big mill a little way this side o' St. Ogg's?"
"Yes," said Maggie. "Is it far off? I think I should like to walk
there, if you please."
"No, no, it'll be getting dark; we must make haste. And the donkey'll
carry you as nice as can be--you'll see."
He lifted Maggie as he spoke, and set her on the donkey.
"Here's your pretty bonnet," said the younger woman, putting it on
Maggie's head. "And you'll say we've been very good to you, won't you,
and what a nice little lady we said you was?"
"Oh yes, thank you," said Maggie; "I'm very much obliged to you. But I
wish you'd go with me too."
"Ah, you're fondest o' me, aren't you?" said the woman. "But I can't
go; you'll go too fast for me."
It now appeared that the man also was to be seated on the donkey,
holding Maggie before him, and no nightmare had ever seemed to her more
horrible. When the woman had patted her on the back, and said
"good-bye," the donkey, at a strong hint from the man's stick, set off
at a rapid walk along the lane towards the point Maggie had come from
an hour ago.
Maggie was completely terrified at this ride on a short-paced donkey,
with a gipsy behind her, who considered that he was earning half a
crown. Two low thatched cottages--the only houses they passed in this
lane--seemed to add to the dreariness. They had no windows to speak
of, and the doors were closed. It was probable that they were
inhabited by witches, and it was a relief to find that the donkey did
not stop there.
At last--oh, sight of joy!--this lane, the longest in the world, was
coming to an end, and was opening on a broad highroad, where there was
actually a coach passing! And there was a finger-post at the corner.
She had surely seen that finger-post before--"To St. Ogg's, 2 miles."
The gipsy really meant to take her home, then. He was probably a good
man after all, and might have been rather hurt at the thought that she
didn't like coming with him alone. This idea became stronger as she
felt more and more certain that she knew the road quite well, when, as
they reached a cross-road, Maggie caught sight of some one coming on a
horse which seemed familiar to her.
"Oh, stop, stop!" she cried out. "There's my father!--O father,
The sudden joy was almost painful, and before her father reached her
she was sobbing. Great was Mr. Tulliver's wonder, for he had been
paying a visit to a married sister, and had not yet been home.
"Why, what's the meaning o' this?" he said, checking his horse, while
Maggie slipped from the donkey and ran to her father's stirrup.
"The little miss lost herself, I reckon," said the gipsy. "She'd come
to our tent at the far end o' Dunlow Lane, and I was bringing her where
she said her home was. It's a good way to come arter being on the
tramp all day."
"Oh yes, father, he's been very good to bring me home," said Maggie--"a
very kind, good man!"
"Here, then, my man," said Mr. Tulliver, taking out five shillings.
"It's the best day's work you ever did. I couldn't afford to lose the
little wench. Here, lift her up before me."
"Why, Maggie, how's this, how's this?" he said, as they rode along,
while she laid her head against her father and sobbed. "How came you
to be rambling about and lose yourself?"
"O father," sobbed Maggie, "I ran away because I was so unhappy--Tom
was so angry with me. I couldn't bear it."
"Pooh, pooh!" said Mr. Tulliver soothingly; "you mustn't think o'
running away from father. What 'ud father do without his little wench?"
"Oh no, I never will again, father--never."
Mr. Tulliver spoke his mind very strongly when he reached home that
evening, and Maggie never heard one reproach from her mother, or one
taunt from Tom, about running away to be queen of the gipsies.
TOM AT SCHOOL.
In due time Tom found himself at King's Lorton, under the care of the
Rev. Walter Stelling, a big, broad-chested man, not yet thirty, with
fair hair standing erect, large light-gray eyes, and a deep bass voice.
The schoolmaster had made up his mind to bring Tom on very quickly
during the first half-year; but Tom did not greatly enjoy the process,
though he made good progress in a very short time.
The boy was, however, very lonely, and longed for playfellows. In his
secret heart he yearned to have Maggie with him; though, when he was at
home, he always made it out to be a great favour on his part to let
Maggie trot by his side on his pleasure excursions.
And before this dreary half-year was ended Maggie actually came. Mrs.
Stelling had given a general invitation for the little girl to come and
stay with her brother; so when Mr. Tulliver drove over to King's Lorton
late in October, Maggie came too. It was Mr. Tulliver's first visit to
see Tom, for the lad must learn, he had said, not to think too much
"Well, my lad," the miller said to Tom, when Mr. Stelling had left the
room, and Maggie had begun to kiss Tom freely, "you look rarely.
School agrees with you."
Tom wished he had looked rather ill.
"I don't think I am well, father," said Tom; "I wish you'd ask Mr.
Stelling not to let me do Euclid; it brings on the tooth-ache, I think."
"Euclid, my lad. Why, what's that?" said Mr. Tulliver.
"Oh, I don't know. It's definitions, and axioms, and triangles, and
things. It's a book I've got to learn in; there's no sense in it."
"Go, go!" said Mr. Tulliver; "you mustn't say so. You must learn what
your master tells you. He knows what it's right for you to learn."
"I'll help you now, Tom," said Maggie. "I'm come to stay ever so long,
if Mrs. Stelling asks me. I've brought my box and my
pinafores--haven't I, father?"
"_You_ help me, you silly little thing!" said Tom. "I should like to
see _you_ doing one of my lessons! Why, I learn Latin too! Girls
never learn such things; they're too silly."
"I know what Latin is very well," said Maggie confidently. "Latin's a
language. There are Latin words in the dictionary. There's _bonus_, a
"Now you're just wrong there, Miss Maggie!" said Tom. "You think
you're very wise. But _bonus_ means 'good,' as it happens--_bonus,
"Well, that's no reason why it shouldn't mean 'gift,'" said Maggie
stoutly. "It may mean several things--almost every word does. There's
'lawn'--it means the grass-plot, as well as the stuff handkerchiefs are
"Well done, little un," said Mr. Tulliver, laughing, while Tom felt
Mrs. Stelling did not mention a longer time than a week for Maggie's
stay, but Mr. Stelling said that she must stay a fortnight.
"Now, then, come with me into the study, Maggie," said Tom, as their
father drove away. "What do you shake and toss your head now for, you
silly? It makes you look as if you were crazy."
"Oh, I can't help it," said Maggie. "Don't tease me, Tom. Oh, what
books!" she exclaimed, as she saw the bookcases in the study. "How I
should like to have as many books as that!"
"Why, you couldn't read one of 'em," said Tom triumphantly. "They're
"No, they aren't," said Maggie. "I can read the back of this--_History
of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_."
"Well, what does that mean? You don't know," said Tom, wagging his
"But I could soon find out," said Maggie.
"I should look inside, and see what it was about."
"You'd better not, Miss Maggie," said Tom, seeing her hand on the
volume. "Mr. Stelling lets nobody touch his books without leave, and I
shall catch it if you take it out."
"Oh, very well! Let me see all your books, then," said Maggie, turning
to throw her arms round Tom's neck, and rub his cheek with her small
Tom, in the gladness of his heart at having dear old Maggie to dispute
with and crow over again, seized her round the waist, and began to jump
with her round the large library table. Away they jumped with more and
more vigour, till at last, reaching Mr. Stelling's reading-stand, they
sent it thundering down with its heavy books to the floor. Tom stood
dizzy and aghast for a few minutes, dreading the appearance of Mr. or
"Oh, I say, Maggie," said Tom at last, lifting up the stand, "we must
keep quiet here, you know. If we break anything, Mrs. Stelling'll make
us cry _peccavi_."
"What's that?" said Maggie.
"Oh, it's the Latin for a good scolding," said Tom.
"Is she a cross woman?" said Maggie.
"I believe you!" said Tom, with a nod.
"I think all women are crosser than men," said Maggie. "Aunt Glegg's a
great deal crosser than Uncle Glegg, and mother scolds me more than
"Well, you'll be a woman some day," said Tom, "so you needn't talk."
"But I shall be a clever woman," said Maggie, with a toss.
"Oh, I dare say, and a nasty, conceited thing. Everybody'll hate you."
"But _you_ oughtn't to hate me, Tom. It'll be very wicked of you, for
I shall be your sister."
"Yes; but if you're a nasty, disagreeable thing, I shall hate you."
"Oh but, Tom, you won't! I shan't be disagreeable. I shall be very
good to you, and I shall be good to everybody. You won't hate me
really, will you, Tom?"
"Oh, bother, never mind! Come, it's time for me to learn my lessons.
See here what I've got to do," Tom went on, drawing Maggie towards him,
and showing her his theorem, while she pushed her hair behind her ears,
and prepared herself to help him in Euclid.
"It's nonsense!" she said, after a few moments reading, "and very ugly
stuff; nobody need want to make it out."
"Ah, there now, Miss Maggie!" said Tom, drawing the book away and
wagging his head at her; "you see you're not so clever as you thought
"Oh," said Maggie, pouting, "I dare say I could make it out if I'd
learned what goes before, as you have."
"But that's what you just couldn't, Miss Wisdom," said Tom. "For it's
all the harder when you know what goes before. But get along with you
now; I must go on with this. Here's the Latin Grammar. See what you
can make of that."
Maggie found the Latin Grammar quite soothing, for she delighted in new
words, and quickly found that there was an English Key at the end,
which would make her very wise about Latin at slight expense.
After a short period of silence Tom called out,--
"Now, then, Magsie, give us the Grammar!"
"O Tom, it's such a pretty book!" she said, as she jumped out of the
large armchair to give it him. "I could learn Latin very soon. I
don't think it's at all hard."
"Oh, I know what you've been doing," said Tom; "you've been reading the
English at the end. Any donkey can do that. Here, come and hear if I
can say this. Stand at that end of the table."
[Illustration: "Here, Magsie, come and hear if I can say this."]
Maggie obeyed, and took the open book.
"Where do you begin, Tom?"
"Oh, I begin at '_Appellativa arborum_,' because I say all over again
what I've been learning this week."
Tom sailed along pretty well for three lines, and then he stuck fast.
"There, you needn't laugh at me, Tom, for you didn't remember it at
all, you see."
"Phee-e-e-h! I told you girls couldn't learn Latin."
"Very well, then," said Maggie, pouting. "I can say it as well as you
can. And you don't mind your stops. For you ought to stop twice as
long at a semicolon as you do at a comma, and you make the longest
stops where there ought to be no stops at all."
"Oh, well, don't chatter. Let me go on."
It was a very happy fortnight to Maggie, this visit to Tom. She was
allowed to be in the study while he had his lessons, and in time got
very deep into the examples in the Latin Grammar.
Mr. Stelling liked her prattle immensely, and they were on the best of
terms. She told Tom she should like to go to school to Mr. Stelling,
as he did, and learn just the same things. She knew she could do
Euclid, for she had looked into it again, and she saw what ABC
meant--they were the names of the lines.
"I'm sure you couldn't do it, now," said Tom, "and I'll just ask Mr.
Stelling if you could."
"I don't mind," said she. "I'll ask him myself."
"Mr. Stelling," she said, that same evening when they were in the
drawing-room, "couldn't I do Euclid, and all Tom's lessons, if you were
to teach me instead of him?"
"No, you couldn't," said Tom indignantly. "Girls can't do Euclid--can
"They can pick up a little of everything, I dare say," said Mr.
Stelling; "but they couldn't go far into anything. They're quick and
Tom, delighted with this, wagged his head at Maggie behind Mr.
Stelling's chair. As for Maggie, she had hardly ever been so angry.
She had been so proud to be called "quick" all her little life, and now
it appeared that this quickness showed what a poor creature she was.
It would have been better to be slow, like Tom.
"Ha, ha, Miss Maggie!" said Tom, when they were alone; "you see it's
not such a fine thing to be quick. You'll never go far into anything,
And Maggie had no spirit for a retort.
But when she was fetched away in the gig by Luke, and the study was
once more quite lonely for Tom, he missed her grievously.
Still, the dreary half-year did come to an end at last. How glad Tom
was to see the last yellow leaves fluttering before the cold wind! The
dark afternoons, and the first December snow, seemed to him far
livelier than the August sunshine; and that he might make himself the
surer about the flight of the days that were carrying him homeward, he
stuck twenty-one sticks deep in a corner of the garden, when he was
three weeks from the holidays, and pulled one up every day with a great
wrench, throwing it to a distance.
But it was worth buying, even at the heavy price of the Latin
Grammar--the happiness of seeing the bright light in the parlour at
home as the gig passed over the snow-covered bridge--the happiness of
passing from the cold air to the warmth, and the kisses, and the smiles
THE NEW SCHOOLFELLOW.
"Father," said Tom one evening near the end of the holidays, "Uncle
Glegg says Lawyer Wakem is going to send his son to Mr. Stelling. You
won't like me to go to school with Wakem's son, will you, father?"
"It's no matter for that, my boy," said Mr. Tulliver; "don't you learn
anything bad of him, that's all. The lad's a poor deformed creatur.
It's a sign Wakem thinks high o' Mr. Stelling, as he sends his son to
him, and Wakem knows meal from bran, lawyer and rascal though he is."
It was a cold, wet January day on which Tom went back to school. If he
had not carried in his pocket a parcel of sugar-candy, there would have
been no ray of pleasure to enliven the gloom.
"Well, Tulliver, we're glad to see you again," said Mr. Stelling
heartily, on his arrival. "Take off your wrappings and come into the
study till dinner. You'll find a bright fire there, and a new
Tom felt in an uncomfortable flutter as he took off his woollen
comforter and other wrappings. He had seen Philip Wakem at St. Ogg's,
but had always turned his eyes away from him as quickly as possible,
for he knew that for several reasons his father hated the Wakem family
with all his heart.
"Here is a new companion for you to shake hands with, Tulliver," said
Mr. Stelling on entering the study--"Master Philip Wakem. You already
know something of each other, I imagine, for you are neighbours at
Tom looked confused, while Philip rose and glanced at him timidly. Tom
did not like to go up and put out his hand, and he was not prepared to
say, "How do you do?" on so short a notice.
Mr. Stelling wisely turned away, and closed the door behind him. He
knew that boys' shyness only wears off in the absence of their elders.
Philip was at once too proud and too timid to walk towards Tom. He
thought, or rather felt, that Tom did not like to look at him. So they
remained without shaking hands or even speaking, while Tom went to the
fire and warmed himself, every now and then casting glances at Philip,
who seemed to be drawing absently first one object and then another on
a piece of paper he had before him. What was he drawing? wondered Tom,
after a spell of silence. He was quite warm now, and wanted something
new to be going forward. Suddenly he walked across the hearth, and
looked over Philip's paper.
"Why, that's a donkey with panniers, and a spaniel, and partridges in
the corn!" he exclaimed. "Oh, my buttons! I wish I could draw like
that. I'm to learn drawing this half. I wonder if I shall learn to
make dogs and donkeys!"
"Oh, you can do them without learning," said Philip; "I never learned
"Never learned?" said Tom, in amazement. "Why, when I make dogs and
horses, and those things, the heads and the legs won't come right,
though I can see how they ought to be very well. I can make houses,
and all sorts of chimneys--chimneys going all down the wall, and
windows in the roof, and all that. But I dare say I could do dogs and
horses if I was to try more," he added.
"Oh yes," said Philip, "it's very easy. You've only to look well at
things, and draw them over and over again. What you do wrong once, you
can alter the next time."
"But haven't you been taught anything?" said Tom.
"Yes," said Philip, smiling; "I've been taught Latin, and Greek, and
mathematics, and writing, and such things."
"Oh, but, I say, you don't like Latin, though, do you?" said Tom.
"Pretty well; I don't care much about it," said Philip. "But I've done
with the grammar," he added. "I don't learn that any more."
"Then you won't have the same lessons as I shall?" said Tom, with a
sense of disappointment.
"No; but I dare say I can help you. I shall be very glad to help you
if I can."
Tom did not say "Thank you," for he was quite absorbed in the thought
that Wakem's son did not seem so spiteful a fellow as might have been
"I say," he said presently, "do you love your father?"
"Yes," said Philip, colouring deeply; "don't you love yours?"
"Oh yes; I only wanted to know," said Tom, rather ashamed of himself,
now he saw Philip colouring and looking uncomfortable.
"Shall you learn drawing now?" he said, by way of changing the subject.
"No," said Philip. "My father wishes me to give all my time to other
"What! Latin, and Euclid, and those things?" said Tom.
"Yes," said Philip, who had left off using his pencil, and was resting
his head on one hand, while Tom was leaning forward on both elbows, and
looking at the dog and the donkey.
"And you don't mind that?" said Tom, with strong curiosity.
"No; I like to know what everybody else knows. I can study what I like
"I can't think why anybody should learn Latin," said Tom. "It's no
"It's part of the education of a gentleman," said Philip. "All
gentlemen learn the same things."
"What! do you think Sir John Crake, the master of the harriers, knows
Latin?" said Tom.
"He learnt it when he was a boy, of course," said Philip. "But I dare
say he's forgotten it."
"Oh, well, I can do that, then," said Tom readily.
"Oh, I don't mind Latin," said Philip, unable to choke a laugh; "I can
remember things easily. And there are some lessons I'm very fond of.
I'm very fond of Greek history, and everything about the Greeks. I
should like to have been a Greek and fought the Persians, and then have
come home and written tragedies, or else have been listened to by
everybody for my wisdom, like Socrates, and have died a grand death."
"Why, were the Greeks great fighters?" said Tom, who saw a vista in
this direction. "Is there anything like David, and Goliath, and Samson
in the Greek history? Those are the only bits I like in the history of
"Oh, there are very fine stories of that sort about the Greeks--about
the heroes of early times who killed the wild beasts, as Samson did.
And in the _Odyssey_ (that's a beautiful poem) there's a more wonderful
giant than Goliath--Polypheme, who had only one eye in the middle of
his forehead; and Ulysses, a little fellow, but very wise and cunning,
got a red-hot pine tree and stuck it into this one eye, and made him
roar like a thousand bulls."
"Oh, what fun!" said Tom, jumping away from the table, and stamping
first with one leg and then the other. "I say, can you tell me all
about those stories? because I shan't learn Greek, you know. Shall
I?" he added, pausing in his stamping with a sudden alarm, lest the
contrary might be possible. "Does every gentleman learn Greek? Will
Mr. Stelling make me begin with it, do you think?"
"No, I should think not--very likely not," said Philip. "But you may
read those stories without knowing Greek. I've got them in English."
"Oh, but I don't like reading; I'd sooner have you tell them me--but
only the fighting ones, you know. My sister Maggie is always wanting
to tell me stories, but they're stupid things. Girls' stories always
are. Can you tell a good many fighting stories?"
"Oh yes," said Philip--"lots of them, besides the Greek stories. I can
tell you about Richard Coeur-de-Lion and Saladin, and about William
Wallace, and Robert Bruce, and James Douglas. I know no end."
"You're older than I am, aren't you?" said Tom.
"Why, how old are you? I'm fifteen."
"I'm only going in fourteen," said Tom. "But I thrashed all the
fellows at Jacobs'--that's where I was before I came here. And I beat
'em all at bandy and climbing. And I wish Mr. Stelling would let us go
fishing. I could show you how to fish. You could fish, couldn't you?
It's only standing, and sitting still, you know."
Philip winced under this allusion to his unfitness for active sports,
and he answered almost crossly,--
"I can't bear fishing. I think people look like fools sitting watching
a line hour after hour, or else throwing and throwing, and catching
"Ah, but you wouldn't say they looked like fools when they landed a big
pike, I can tell you," said Tom. Wakem's son, it was plain, had his
disagreeable points, and must be kept in due check.
THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON.
As time went on Philip and Tom found many common interests, and became,
on the whole, good comrades; but they had occasional tiffs, as was to
be expected, and at one time had a serious difference which promised to
This occurred shortly before Maggie's second visit to Tom. She was
going to a boarding school with Lucy, and wished to see Tom before
When Maggie came, she could not help looking with growing interest at
the new schoolfellow, although he was the son of that wicked Lawyer
Wakem who made her father so angry. She had arrived in the middle of
school hours, and had sat by while Philip went through his lessons with
Tom, some weeks before, had sent her word that Philip knew no end of
stories--not stupid stories like hers; and she was convinced now that
he must be very clever. She hoped he would think her rather clever too
when she came to talk to him.
"I think Philip Wakem seems a nice boy, Tom," she said, when they went
out of the study together into the garden. "He couldn't choose his
father, you know; and I've read of very bad men who had good sons, as
well as good parents who had bad children. And if Philip is good, I
think we ought to be the more sorry for him because his father is not a
good man. You like him, don't you?"
"Oh, he's a queer fellow," said Tom curtly, "and he's as sulky as can
be with me, because I told him one day his father was a rogue. And I'd
a right to tell him so, for it was true; and he began it, with calling
me names. But you stop here by yourself a bit, Magsie, will you?
I've got something I want to do upstairs."
"Can't I go too?" said Maggie, who, in this first day of meeting again,
loved Tom's very shadow.
"No; it's something I'll tell you about by-and-by, not yet," said Tom,
In the afternoon the boys were at their books in the study, preparing
the morrow's lessons, that they might have a holiday in the evening in
honour of Maggie's arrival. Tom was hanging over his Latin Grammar,
and Philip, at the other end of the room, was busy with two volumes
that excited Maggie's curiosity; he did not look at all as if he were
learning a lesson. She sat on a low stool at nearly a right angle with
the two boys, watching first one and then the other.
"I say, Magsie," said Tom at last, shutting his books, "I've done my
lessons now. Come upstairs with me."
"What is it?" said Maggie, when they were outside the door. "It isn't
a trick you're going to play me, now?"
"No, no, Maggie," said Tom, in his most coaxing tone; "it's something
you'll like ever so."
He put his arm round her neck, and she put hers round his waist, and,
twined together in this way, they went upstairs.
"I say, Magsie, you must not tell anybody, you know," said Tom, "else I
shall get fifty lines."
"Is it alive?" said Maggie, thinking that Tom kept a ferret.
"Oh, I shan't tell you," said he. "Now you go into that corner and
hide your face while I reach it out," he added, as he locked the
bedroom door behind them. "I'll tell you when to turn round. You
mustn't squeal out, you know."
"Oh, but if you frighten me, I shall," said Maggie, beginning to look
"You won't be frightened, you silly thing," said Tom. "Go and hide
your face, and mind you don't peep."
"Of course I shan't peep," said Maggie disdainfully; and she buried her
face in the pillow like a person of strict honour.
But Tom looked round warily as he walked to the closet; then he stepped
into the narrow space, and almost closed the door. Maggie kept her
face buried until Tom called out, "Now, then, Magsie!"
Nothing but very careful study could have enabled Tom to present so
striking a figure as he did to Maggie when she looked up. With some
burnt cork he had made himself a pair of black eyebrows that met over
his nose, and were matched by a blackness about the chin. He had wound
a red handkerchief round his cloth cap to give it the air of a turban,
and his red comforter across his breast as a scarf--an amount of red
which, with the frown on his brow, and the firmness with which he
grasped a real sword, as he held it with its point resting on the
ground, made him look very fierce and bloodthirsty indeed.
Maggie looked bewildered for a moment, and Tom enjoyed that moment
keenly; but in the next she laughed, clapped her hands together, and
said, "O Tom, you've made yourself like Bluebeard at the show."
It was clear she had not been struck with the presence of the sword--it
was not unsheathed. Her foolish mind required a more direct appeal to
its sense of the terrible; and Tom prepared for his master-stroke.
Frowning fiercely, he (carefully) drew the sword--a real one--from its
sheath and pointed it at Maggie.
"O Tom, please don't," cried Maggie, in a tone of dread, shrinking away
from him into the opposite corner; "I shall scream--I'm sure I shall!
Oh, don't! I wish I'd never come upstairs!"
[Illustration: "O Tom, please don't,", cried Maggie.]
The corners of Tom's mouth showed an inclination to a smile that was
immediately checked. Slowly he let down the scabbard on the floor lest
it should make too much noise, and then said sternly,--
"I'm the Duke of Wellington! March!" stamping forward with the right
leg a little bent, and the sword still pointed towards Maggie, who,
trembling, and with tear-filled eyes, got upon the bed, as the only
means of widening the space between them.
Tom, happy in this spectator, even though it was only Maggie, proceeded
to such an exhibition of the cut and thrust as would be expected of the
Duke of Wellington.
"Tom, I will not bear it--I will scream," said Maggie, at the first
movement of the sword. "You'll hurt yourself; you'll cut your head
"One--two," said Tom firmly, though at "two" his wrist trembled a
little. "Three" came more slowly, and with it the sword swung
downwards, and Maggie gave a loud shriek. The sword had fallen with
its edge on Tom's foot, and in a moment after he had fallen too.
Maggie leaped from the bed, still shrieking, and soon there was a rush
of footsteps towards the room. Mr. Stelling, from his upstairs study,
was the first to enter. He found both the children on the floor. Tom
had fainted, and Maggie was shaking him by the collar of his jacket,
screaming, with wild eyes.
She thought he was dead, poor child! And yet she shook him, as if that
would bring him back to life. In another minute she was sobbing with
joy because Tom had opened his eyes. She couldn't sorrow yet that he
had hurt his foot; it seemed as if all happiness lay in his being alive.
In a very short time the wounded hero was put to bed, and a surgeon was
fetched, who dressed the wound with a serious face which greatly
impressed every one.
PHILIP AND MAGGIE.
Poor Tom bore his severe pain like a hero, but there was a terrible
dread weighing on his mind--so terrible that he dared not ask the
question which might bring the fatal "yes"--he dared not ask the
surgeon or Mr. Stelling, "Shall I be lame, sir?"
It had not occurred to either of these gentlemen to set the lad's mind
at rest with hopeful words. But Philip watched the surgeon out of the
house, and waylaid Mr. Stelling to ask the very question that Tom had
not dared to ask for himself.
"I beg your pardon, sir, but does Mr. Askern say Tulliver will be lame?"
"Oh no, oh no," said Mr. Stelling; "only for a little while."
"Did he tell Tulliver so, sir, do you think?"
"No; nothing was said to him on the subject."
"Then I may go and tell him, sir?"
"Yes, to be sure. Now you mention it, I dare say he may be troubling
about that. Go to his bedroom, but be very quiet."
It had been Philip's first thought when he heard of the accident, "Will
Tulliver be lame? It will be very hard for him if he is." And Tom's
offences against himself were all washed out by that pity.
"Mr. Askern says you'll soon be all right again, Tulliver; did you
know?" he said, rather timidly, as he stepped gently up to Tom's bed.
"I've just been to ask Mr. Stelling, and he says you'll walk as well as
ever again, by-and-by."
Tom looked up with that stopping of the breath which comes with a
sudden joy; then he gave a long sigh, and turned his blue-gray eyes
straight on Philip's face, as he had not done for a fortnight or more.
As for Maggie, the bare idea of Tom's being always lame overcame her,
and she clung to him and cried afresh.
"Don't be a little silly, Magsie," said Tom tenderly, feeling very
brave now. "I shall soon get well."
"Good-bye, Tulliver," said Philip, putting out his small, delicate
hand, which Tom clasped with his strong fingers.
"I say," said Tom, "ask Mr. Stelling to let you come and sit with me
sometimes, till I get up again, Wakem, and tell me about Robert Bruce,
After that Philip spent all his time out of lesson hours with Tom and
Maggie. Tom liked to hear fighting stories as much as ever; but he
said he was sure that those great fighters, who did so many wonderful
things and came off unhurt, wore excellent armour from head to foot,
which made fighting easy work.
One day, soon after Philip had been to visit Tom, he and Maggie were in
the study alone together while Tom's foot was being dressed. Philip
was at his books, and Maggie went and leaned on the table near him to
see what he was doing; for they were quite old friends now, and
perfectly at home with each other.
"What are you reading about in Greek?" she said. "It's poetry; I can
see that, because the lines are so short."
"It's about the lame man I was telling you of yesterday," he answered,
resting his head on his hand, and looking at her as if he were not at
all sorry to stop. Maggie continued to lean forward, resting on her
arms, while her dark eyes got more and more fixed and vacant, as if she
had quite forgotten Philip and his book.
"Maggie," said Philip, after a minute or two, still leaning on his
elbow and looking at her, "if you had had a brother like me, do you
think you should have loved him as well as Tom?"
Maggie started a little and said, "What?" Philip repeated his question.
"Oh yes--better," she answered immediately. "No, not better, because I
don't think I could love you better than Tom; but I should be so
sorry--so sorry for you."
Philip coloured. Maggie, young as she was, felt her mistake. Hitherto
she had behaved as if she were quite unconscious of Philip's deformity.
"But you are so very clever, Philip, and you can play and sing," she
added quickly. "I wish you were my brother. I'm very fond of you.
And you would stay at home with me when Tom went out, and you would
teach me everything, wouldn't you--Greek, and everything?"
"But you'll go away soon, and go to school, Maggie," said Philip, "and
then you'll forget all about me, and not care for me any more. And
then I shall see you when you're grown up, and you'll hardly take any
notice of me."
"Oh no, I shan't forget you, I'm sure," said Maggie, shaking her head
very seriously. "I never forget anything, and I think about everybody
when I'm away from them. I think about poor Yap. He's got a lump in
his throat, and Luke says he'll die. Only don't you tell Tom, because
it will vex him so. You never saw Yap. He's a queer little dog;
nobody cares about him but Tom and me."
"Do you care as much about me as you do about Yap, Maggie?" said
Philip, smiling rather sadly.
"Oh yes, I should think so," said Maggie, laughing.
"I'm very fond of you, Maggie; I shall never forget you," said Philip.
"And when I'm very unhappy, I shall always think of you, and wish I had
a sister with dark eyes, just like yours."
"Why do you like my eyes?" said Maggie, well pleased. She had never
heard of any one but her father speak of her eyes as if they had merit.
"I don't know," said Philip. "They're not like any other eyes. They
seem trying to speak--trying to speak kindly. I don't like other
people to look at me much, but I like you to look at me, Maggie."
"Why, I think you're fonder of me than Tom is," said Maggie. Then,
wondering how she could convince Philip that she could like him just as
well, although he was crooked, she said,--
"Should you like me to kiss you, as I do Tom? I will, if you like."
"Yes, very much. Nobody kisses me."
Maggie put her arm round his neck and kissed him.
"There now," she said; "I shall always remember you, and kiss you when
I see you again, if it's ever so long. But I'll go now, because I
think Mr. Askern's done with Tom's foot."
When their father came the second time, Maggie said to him, "O father,
Philip Wakem is so very good to Tom; he is such a clever boy, and I do
love him.--And you love him too, Tom, don't you? Say you love him,"
she added entreatingly.
Tom coloured a little as he looked at his father, and said, "I shan't
be friends with him when I leave school, father. But we've made it up
now, since my foot has been bad; and he's taught me to play at
draughts, and I can beat him."
"Well, well," said Mr. Tulliver, "if he's good to you, try and make him
amends and be good to him. He's a poor crooked creatur, and takes
after his dead mother. But don't you be getting too thick with him;
he's got his father's blood in him too."
* * * * *
By the time Tom had reached his last quarter at King's Lorton the years
had made striking changes in him. He was a tall youth now, and wore
his tail-coat and his stand-up collars. Maggie, too, was tall now,
with braided and coiled hair. She was almost as tall as Tom, though
she was only thirteen; and she really looked older than he did.
At last the day came when Tom was to say good-bye to his tutor, and
Maggie came over to King's Lorton to fetch him home. Mr. Stelling put
his hand on Tom's shoulder, and said, "God bless you, my boy; let me
know how you get on." Then he pressed Maggie's hand; but there were no
audible good-byes. Tom had so often thought how joyful he should be
the day he left school "for good." And now that the great event had
come, his school years seemed like a holiday that had come to an end.
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