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The Adventures Harry Richmond — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 79 pages of information about The Adventures Harry Richmond Volume 1.

A TALE OF A GOOSE

From that hour till the day Heriot’s aunt came to see me, I lived systematically out of myself in extreme flights of imagination, locking my doors up, as it were, all the faster for the extremest strokes of Mr. Rippenger’s rod.  He remarked justly that I grew an impenetrably sullen boy, a constitutional rebel, a callous lump:  and assured me that if my father would not pay for me, I at least should not escape my debts.  The title of little impostor, transmitted from the master’s mouth to the school in designation of one who had come to him as a young prince, and for whom he had not received one penny’s indemnification, naturally caused me to have fights with several of the boys.  Whereupon I was reported:  I was prayed at to move my spirit, and flogged to exercise my flesh.  The prayers I soon learnt to laugh to scorn.  The floggings, after they were over, crowned me with delicious sensations of martyrdom.  Even while the sting lasted I could say, it’s for Heriot and Julia! and it gave me a wonderful penetration into—­the mournful ecstasy of love.  Julia was sent away to a relative by the sea-side, because, one of the housemaids told me, she could not bear to hear of my being beaten.  Mr. Rippenger summoned me to his private room to bid me inform him whether I had other relatives besides my father, such as grandfather, grandmother, uncles, or aunts, or a mother.  I dare say Julia would have led me to break my word to my father by speaking of old Riversley, a place I half longed for since my father had grown so distant and dim to me; but confession to Mr. Rippenger seemed, as he said of Heriot’s behaviour to him, a gross breach of trust to my father; so I refused steadily to answer, and suffered the consequences now on my dear father’s behalf.  Heriot’s aunt brought me a cake, and in a letter from him an extraordinary sum of money for a boy of my age.  He wrote that he knew I should want it to pay my debts for treats to the boys and keep them in good humour.  He believed also that his people meant to have me for the Christmas holidays.  The sum he sent me was five pounds, carefully enclosed.  I felt myself a prince again.  The money was like a golden gate through which freedom twinkled a finger.  Forthwith I paid my debts, amounting to two pounds twelve shillings, and instructed a couple of day-boarders, commercial fellows, whose heavy and mysterious charges for commissions ran up a bill in no time, to prepare to bring us materials for a feast on Saturday.  Temple abominated the trading propensities of these boys.  ’They never get licked and they’ve always got money, at least I know they always get mine,’ said he; ’but you and I and Heriot despise them.’  Our position toward them was that of an encumbered aristocracy, and really they paid us great respect.  The fact was that, when they had trusted us, they were compelled to continue obsequious, for Heriot had instilled the sentiment in the school, that gentlemen

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