The St. Amory’s clock could be heard striking the half hour after one when Jack and Acton parted at the corner of Corker’s garden.
“Jack,” said Acton, “good night! and you need not trouble about the L7. You’ve done more for me than that, and I shall not forget it.”
Jack, almost weeping with gratitude, said, “Good night, Acton!” in a fervent whisper, and scuttled over Corker’s flower-beds. He pushed up his window and crawled through, and, seeing that all was as he had left it after supper, he undressed and jumped into bed, and in a few minutes slept the sleep of the just.
Acton had managed his re-entrance just as successfully—did he ever fail?—and the thought of Bourne’s hopeless rage, when he should find out about Jack’s escapade, made him sleep the sleep of the happy man. He was made that way.
[Illustration: HE PUSHED UP HIS WINDOW AND CRAWLED THROUGH.]
THE PENFOLD TABLET FUND
The Easter term had been one of unadulterated discomfort for Jim Cotton. He had felt the loss of Gus’s helping hand terribly, and he had not yet found another ass to “devil” for him in the way of classics or mathematics. Philips, a former understudy to Gus, was called upon, but with unsatisfactory results, and Cotton, mirabile dictu, was compelled in sheer desperation to try to do his own work. Frankly, the Fifth of St. Amory’s was beyond Jim’s very small attainments, classical or otherwise. He had been hoisted up to that serene height by no means honoris causa, but aetatis causa. Jim was verging on six feet, and he filled his clothes very well into the bargain, and though his scholarship was strictly junior school, the spectacle of Jim in Fourth Form Etons would have been too entrancing a sight for daily contemplation. Hence he had got his remove. Thrown over by Gus, unable to discover a second jackal for the term so far, he had been left to the tender mercy of Corker, Merishall and Co., and Jim was inclined to think that they showed no quarter to a fallen foe. Corker had been distilled venom on the particular morning with which this chapter deals on the subject of Jim’s Greek. Herodotus, as translated by Jim with the help of a well-thumbed Bohn’s crib, had emerged as a most unalluring mess of pottage, and Dr. Moore had picked out Bohn’s plums from Jim’s paste with unerring accuracy. Whilst Cotton was wishing the roof would fall down on Corker’s head and kill him, the other fellows in the Fifth were enjoying the fun. Gus Todd, though, felt for his old friend more than a touch of pity, and when old Corker left Jim alone finally, Gus very cleverly kept his attention away from Jim’s quarter. When Corker finally drew his toga around him and hurried out, Jim Cotton gathered together his own books and lounged heavily into the street, sick of school, books, Corker, and hating Gus with a mighty