“Much good it’ll do him,” said Dawkins, contemptuously.
“For all that, you will have to be careful; I can tell you that.”
“I’m not in the least afraid. I’m a little too firm in my position to be ousted by Young Stupid.”
“Just wait and see.”
Dawkins really entertained no apprehension. He had unbounded confidence in himself, and felt a sense of power in the rapidity with which he could master a lesson. He therefore did not study much, and though he could not but see that Paul was rapidly advancing, he rejected with scorn the idea that Young Stupid could displace him.
This, however, was the object at which Paul was aiming. He had not forgotten the nickname which Dawkins had given him, and this was the revenge which he sought,—a strictly honorable one.
At length the day of his triumph came. At the end of the month the master read off the class-list, and, much to his disgust, George Dawkins found himself playing second fiddle to Young Stupid.
Ben’s practical joke.
Mrs. Mudge was in the back room, bending over a tub. It was washing-day, and she was particularly busy. She was a driving, bustling woman, and, whatever might be her faults of temper, she was at least industrious and energetic. Had Mr. Mudge been equally so, they would have been better off in a worldly point of view. But her husband was constitutionally lazy, and was never disposed to do more than was needful.
Mrs. Mudge was in a bad humor that morning. One of the cows had got into the garden through a gap in the fence, and made sad havoc among the cabbages. Now if Mrs. Mudge had a weakness, it was for cabbages. She was excessively fond of them, and had persuaded her husband to set out a large number of plants from which she expected a large crop. They were planted in one corner of the garden, adjoining a piece of land, which, since mowing, had been used for pasturing the cows. There was a weak place in the fence separating the two inclosures, and this Mrs. Mudge had requested her husband to attend to. He readily promised this, and Mrs. Mudge supposed it done, until that same morning, her sharp eyes had detected old Brindle munching the treasured cabbages with a provoking air of enjoyment. The angry lady seized a broom, and repaired quickly to the scene of devastation. Brindle scented the danger from afar, and beat a disorderly retreat, trampling down the cabbages which she had hitherto spared. Leaping over the broken fence, she had just cleared the gap as the broom-handle, missing her, came forcibly down upon the rail, and was snapped in sunder by the blow.
Here was a new vexation. Brindle had not only escaped scot-free, but the broom, a new one, bought only the week before, was broken.
“It’s a plaguy shame,” said Mrs. Mudge, angrily. “There’s my best broom broken; cost forty-two cents only last week.”