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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 206 pages of information about Darrel of the Blessed Isles.

At the Linley schoolhouse something had happened.  Cunning no sooner showed its head than it was bruised like a serpent, brawny muscles had been easily outdone, boldness had grown timid, conceit had begun to ebb.  A serious look had settled upon all faces.  Every scholar had learned one thing, learned it well and quickly—­it was to be no playroom.

There was a recess of one hour at noon.  All went for their dinner pails and sat quietly, eating bread and butter followed by doughnuts, apples, and pie.

The young men had walked to the road.  Nothing had been said.  They drew near each other.  Tom Linley looked up at Joe Beach.  In his face one might have seen a cloud of sympathy that had its silver lining of amusement.

“Powerful?” Tom inquired, soberly.

“What?” said Joe.

“Powerful?” Tom repeated.

“Powerful!  Jiminy crimps!” said Joe, significantly.

“Why didn’t ye kick him?”

“Kick him?”

“Yes.”

“Kick him?

“Kick him.”

“Huh! dunno,” said Joe, with a look of sadness turning into contempt.

“Scairt?” the other inquired.

“Scairt?  Na—­a—­w,” said Joe, scornfully.

“What was ye, then?”

“Parr’lyzed—­seems so.”

There was an outbreak of laughter.

“You was goin’ t’ help,” said Joe, addressing Tom Linley.

A moment of silence followed.

You was goin’ t’ help,” the fallen bully repeated, with large emphasis on the pronoun.

“Help?” Tom inquired, sparring for wind as it were.

“Yes, help.”

“You was licked ’fore I had time.”

“Didn’t dast—­that’s what’s the matter—­didn’t dast,” said big Joe, with a tone of irreparable injury.

“Wouldn’t ‘a’ been nigh ye fer a millyun dollars,” said Tom, soberly.

“Why not?”

“’Twant safe; that’s why.”

“‘Fraid o’ him! ye coward!”

“No; ‘fraid o’ you.”

“Why?”

“‘Cos if one o’ yer feet had hit a feller when ye come up ag’in that wall,” Tom answered slowly, “there wouldn’t ‘a’ been nuthin’ left uv him.”

All laughed loudly.

Then there was another silence.  Joe broke it after a moment of deep thought.

“Like t’ know how he seen me,” said he.

“’Tis cur’us,” said another.

“Guess he’s one o’ them preformers like they have at the circus—­” was the opinion of Sam Beach.  “See one take a pig out o’ his hat las’ summer.”

“’Tain’t fair ‘n’ square,” said Tom Linley; “not jest eggzac’ly.”

“Gosh!  B’lieve I’ll run away,” said Joe, after a pause.  “Ain’ no fun here for me.”

“Better not,” said Archer Town; “not if ye know when yer well off.”

“Why not?”

“Wal, he’d see ye wherever ye was an’ do suthin’ to ye,” said Archer.  “Prob’ly he’s heard all we been sayin’ here.”

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