Paul obtains A situation.
The month after Paul Prescott succeeded in reaching the head of his class, George Dawkins exerted himself to rise above him. He studied better than usual, and proved in truth a formidable rival. But Paul’s spirit was roused. He resolved to maintain his position if possible. He had now become accustomed to study, and it cost him less effort. When the end of the month came, there was considerable speculation in the minds of the boys as to the result of the rivalry. The majority had faith in Paul, but there were some who, remembering how long Dawkins had been at the head of the class, thought he would easily regain his lost rank.
The eventful day, the first of the month, at length came, and the class-list was read.
Paul Prescott ranked first.
George Dawkins ranked second.
A flush spread over the pale face of Dawkins, and he darted a malignant glance at Paul, who was naturally pleased at having retained his rank.
Dawkins had his satellites. One of these came to him at recess, and expressed his regret that Dawkins had failed of success.
Dawkins repelled the sympathy with cold disdain.
“What do you suppose I care for the head of the class?” he demanded, haughtily.
“I thought you had been studying for it.”
“Then you thought wrong. Let the sexton’s son have it, if he wants it. It would be of no use to me, as I leave this school at the end of the week.”
The boys gathered about Dawkins, curiously.
“Is it really so, Dawkins?” they inquired.
“Yes,” said Dawkins, with an air of importance; “I shall go to a private school, where the advantages are greater than here. My father does not wish me to attend a public school any longer.”
This statement was made on the spur of the moment, to cover the mortification which his defeat had occasioned him. It proved true, however. On his return home, Dawkins succeeded in persuading his father to transfer him to a private school, and he took away his books at the end of the week. Had he recovered his lost rank there is no doubt that he would have remained.
Truth to tell, there were few who mourned much for the departure of George Dawkins. He had never been a favorite. His imperious temper and arrogance rendered this impossible.
After he left school, Paul saw little of him for two or three years. At their first encounter Paul bowed and spoke pleasantly, but Dawkins looked superciliously at him without appearing to know him.
Paul’s face flushed proudly, and afterwards he abstained from making advances which were likely to be repulsed. He had too much self-respect to submit voluntarily to such slights.
Meanwhile Paul’s school life fled rapidly. It was a happy time,—happy in its freedom from care, and happy for him, though all school boys do not appreciate that consideration, in the opportunities for improvement which it afforded. These opportunities, it is only just to Paul to say, were fully improved. He left school with an enviable reputation, and with the good wishes of his schoolmates and teachers.