Whilst the dervishes were explaining matters to Worcester the other prisoner was elbowing his way into the crowd around the Fifth Form notice-board, whereon were pinned the final lists. Jim Cotton was planted squarely before the board, eyeing the contents with huge delight, and when he caught sight of the struggling Gus he haled him vigorously forward.
“Here you are, Gus! By Jove, Toddy, you’ve done it this time, you old Perry fizzler!”
Gus eyed the list with delighted eyes.
This is what he saw: “First—Todd, A.V.R.—history medal, and chemistry prize.”
Need I say anything more of either Todd or Cotton? Todd entered the Sixth when the summer holidays were over, and Phil Bourne writes me often and tells me what a big gun Todd is in the schools. Jim Cotton was entered upon the roll-call of some celebrated “crammer” near the Crystal Palace. If crammers’ hearts could be broken, Jim, I should say, will accomplish the feat. But if ever James Cotton does get into the Army he will never disgrace his regiment.
THE END OF THE FEUD
Thoroughly satisfied with himself and all the world, Acton had on the last Saturday of the term—the election for the captaincy was to be held that night—left the cricket field to the enthusiasts, and turned his feet towards the old Lodestone Farm, the road he knew so well. He wanted to be alone with his happy thoughts. He was more than satisfied with himself, and, as he walked along, he mowed down with his ash-plant thistles and nettles in sheer joyfulness of heart. His long feud with Bourne would come to a joyful end that night. Mivart’s election was certain, and Mivart’s election would pay for all—for the loss of the “footer” cap, and for that terrible half-hour after Bourne had knocked him out, when he felt himself almost going mad from hatred, rage, disgust, and defeat. He had engineered his schemes beautifully; his revenge would be as perfect. The loss of the captaincy would be a bitter, bitter pill for Bourne to swallow.
Whilst he strode on, engrossed with these pleasant thoughts, he fancied he heard shouts and cries somewhere in the distance behind him. He turned round, and down the long stretch of white road he saw a cloud of dust rolling with terrific speed towards him. For one moment he wondered whatever was the matter, but out of the dust he could see the flashing of carriage-wheels, the glitter of harness, and the shining coats of a couple of horses. The carriage came rocking towards him at a terrible rate, sometimes the wheels on one side off the road altogether; the horses had their heads up, and Acton could hear their terrified snorting as they thundered towards him.
“A runaway!” said Acton, backing into the hedge. “They’ll come a cropper at the little bridge. What a smash there’ll be!” As the runaway horses, galloping like the furies, came nearer, Acton saw something which made his blood run cold. “Jove!” he cried, darting out from the hedge, “there’s a lady in the carriage!” Acton was almost frozen with the horror of the thing. “She’ll be smashed to pieces at the bridge.”