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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-16 18:26:49
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ERNEST had heard awful accounts of Dr. Skinner’s temper, and of the bullying which the younger boys at Roughborough had to put up with at the hands of the bigger ones. He had now got about as much as he could stand, and felt as though it must go hard with him if his burdens of whatever kind were to be increased. He did not cry on leaving home, but I am afraid he did on being told that he was getting near Roughborough. His father and mother were with him, having posted from home in their own carriage; Roughborough had as yet no railway, and as it was only some forty miles from Battersby, this was the easiest way of getting there.

Knowing what I knew, and having determined on violating Miss Pontifex’s instructions should the occasion arise, I did not think Ernest would be any the worse for a complete estrangement from his family, so I acquiesced more readily in what Theobald had proposed than that gentleman may have expected.

If we do not want him to give us the slip we must catch him as he leaves prison.”

We dined in the gardens, and I noticed with pleasure that Ernest’s appetite was already improved. Since this time, whenever I have been a little out of sorts myself I have at once gone up to Regent’s Park, and have invariably been benefited. I mention this here in the hope that some one or other of my readers may find the hint a useful one.

He looked so meek that I was vexed with myself for having said what I had, more especially when I remembered his bringing-up, which had doubtless done much to impair his power of taking a common-sense view of things. He continued —

One of Miss Pontifex’s first moves was to ask a dozen of the smartest and most gentlemanly boys to breakfast with her. From her seat in church she could see the faces of the upper-form boys, and soon made up her mind which of them it would be best to cultivate. Miss Pontifex, sitting opposite the boys in church, and reckoning them up with her keen eyes from under her veil by all a woman’s criteria, came to a truer conclusion about the greater number of those she scrutinized than even Dr. Skinner had done. She fell in love with one boy from seeing him put on his gloves.


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