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THOMAS.

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The most remarkable thing about good deal and knit. I had so this little history is that it is quite much to think about that I could true. If I knew how, I would not settle to anything else. Books make it into a real story going on were never much in my way, and from month to month in a maga- as for going out I never cared for zine. But I could never invent it much even as a girl. So I used the love-making, and without love to sit and knit, seeing through the a story is nothing. I should never thick screen of plants on the winknow, for instance, what to make dow-sill all that went on in the May and the Doctor say to each street. Sometimes I saw the careother. So I had better put down taker opposite going in and out, Thomas's story just as it all hap- he and his wife and their two pened, and leave fiction to cleverer little children. He looked very folk.

respectable, but broken down Some years ago, twenty and and terribly thin; he was evimore, after my husband died, I dently far gone in consumption. lived in what was then a new The woman seemed worried and street near Westbourne Terrace. anxious, as well she might, poor It consisted of two rows of houses soul; and in her arms there was

- very ugly houses outside, though always a skinny little baby, her inside they

comfortable third child. They were of the enough. I had three little girls; artisan class, and very poor, of the eldest, May, was just five, a course, or they would not have pretty little thing with golden been taking care of an empty hair and blue eyes. I often wish house. I used to wonder if they I had had her portrait painted. had enough to eat, for they all The others were quite tiny-four, looked white and thin and halfand two and a half. The last was starved. born a week before the news came The next time I went to the from India that her father had landlord's office I asked about them, died of sunstroke.

and was told that they were reOpposite to us there was a spectable Cornish people, but Cornhouse to be let. For a long time it wall was starvation now, and there was quite empty, bill in the win- was nothing for any one to do. dow, dirt on the windows, dust on They had come to London a few the steps, dreary and deserted. years before, and the man, who Suddenly one morning, though the was a mechanic, had kept his bill was not taken down, the win- family well till he broke down in dows were cleaned, the steps swept, health. He could do nothing now, and a small cart-load of shabby was an outdoor patient at Brompfurniture carried in. Evidently a ton Hospital, and had only the care-taker had been put in charge, allowance from his club, and the and I was glad of it, for it is never few shillings his wife sometimes very safe to leave a house abso- earned by going out to work. lutely empty.

There was a large leg of mutton I used to sit by the window a for the children's dinner the next

day. I cut off half-a-dozen good did, with nothing put by. I subslices, put them between two hot scribed to a club, of course, and dishes with some vegetable, and it's kept us from starving, and it'll sent them to the Cornish folk. bury me, but that's all. I ought They were very grateful, the ser- to have saved before I married, vant said, when she returned, and and so ought every man. One is the dishes were brought back by always so sure one is going to live the little boy, with “ Father's when one feels strong. Well, God much obliged, and it did him a is good, and He'll take care of world of good.” One day a box them,” he added with a sigh, and of flowers came from the country, a month later in that simple faith so I made up a nosegay and sent he died. it across to the poor wasted-looking Then it became a question of care-taker. This brought the wo- what was to be done with the man, with tears in her eyes, to widow and children. The woman thank me.

was delicate; there was the skinny “My husband he do like to smell baby, a little girl of six called Gracie, a flower, ma'am," she said. “It's and Thomas,—they always called many a day now since he has seen him by his full old-fashioned name, them growing in the ground.” —who was ten, or barely ten. Then I asked her if I might go "I would like to stay in Lonand see him sometimes, or perhaps don; there's more going on, and he would like a paper and some I'd be more likely to get somebooks now and then? The wo- thing,” the poor woman said, when man's face brightened. “He would a proposal was made to send her be pleased, ma'am, indeed," she back to her native place. "They said.” “It's long since any one be very poor in Cornwall where I went to talk to him, and I often come from ; it would be no good think it's dull for him. I doubt going back; father and mother if I have him much longer," she are dead, and there was only one added, simply; "and it's likely other of us, my brother Joe, and you can feel for me, ma'am.” he went off to Melbourne long

So I went over to see Mr Lobb. ago.” He was sitting by the fire, warm- “ Couldn't you send to him?" ing his long thin hands.

I asked ; “ he might do something “I am glad to see you, ma'am,' for you." he said, with the almost per- "I have sent ma'am," she anfect manner one sometimes finds swered; “ but I don't know if he's among working people who have got the letter. We never kept not lived much in towns. “I much count of his address, for he would have come over to thank never had the same one long toyou for your kindness, but feared gether. I don't expect he'd be

I you might think it a liberty. I able to do much; he was never spend most of my time trying to much of a hand at helping himkeep warm by a bit of fire.self, let alone others." He was very simple and kindly.

So

we got together a little He knew that he was going to money and bought her a mangle. die, and faced it like a man. He She went to live in two rooms spoke of it without fear or affec- close by, and just kept soul and tation. “ It worries me to think body together for herself and chilof the wife and children,” he said. dren by mangling and occasionally “A man should not marry as I going out to work.

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Suddenly one day my house- am used to children. I have almaid went off without a moment's ways taken care of ours," he added notice to her mother who was ill, gravely, and the "ours" showed and poor Mrs Lobb was unable to that he did not put himself on a come and help us on account of her level with his sister ; “and I have baby. “I can't bear to refuse," pushed a perambulator often for the poor thing said, “but the little Mrs Hicks, the grocer's wife, since baby is that bad with bronchitus, her husband has been laid up, and I doubt if I keep it through the her in the shop." I thought how winter."

funny he would look pushing my Then it was that Thomas first two babies along with one hand, came into our lives. I had hardly and with the other holding little noticed him before, except as a May, as she toddled beside him, little dark-haired boy too small for and wondered what my most kind his age. The morning after Jane but proper mother-in-law would went, I was told he wanted to see say if she met them. My motherme. I remember the interview as in-law always kept me well in hand, well as if it we were yesterday. I and does still, though I am getting

I was in the dining-room when he to be an old woman. There is one knocked. “Come in," I said, and thing I simply dread her finding in came Thomas. He stepped just out, but that will appear byinside and pulled his front hair. and-by. Evidently he had been instructed “Well, no, Thomas, I don't that that was the correct way of think we

headmaking a bow.

nurse," I said. “But you can * Please, mum," he said shyly, come in the morning and clean “ mother says as how you have no the knives and boots.

You are housemaid, so I came to ask if you quite sure you can do them would like me to help a bit." beautiful.'" " You, Thomas !

“ Yes, quite sure, mum," he “ Please, mum, I does for mother, answered, looking up with his sweeps and scrubs and dusts and great dark eyes. washes up the things. Mother So Thomas came every day, and said I was to tell you I could clean was the comfort of my life. He knives and boots beautiful.” He was very quiet and attentive. looked down as he said the last When he carried in the coals he words, as though he felt ashamed always looked round to see if there at praising himself, and nothing were letters to post or anything but necessity would have driven he could do; he always saw when him to do it.

my plants wanted watering or the " Why, you have quite a list of leaves wanted washing. Even cook, accomplishments, Thomas," I an- who was difficult to please, said he swered, and laughed, but he was " was a downright blessing.” The evidently very anxious.

only vexing thing was the when" Or I could take care of the ever he had a chance he would children — the young ladies, I creep up to the nursery and play mean "-he said, correcting him- with the children. He adored self; "then perhaps nurse could May, and used to carry her up-stairs help.” He was quite a manager, when she came in from her walk. and had evidently thought out She was delighted to let him do it, how matters could be arranged so putting her arms round his neck, as to make the best of things. “I and looking up at him with her

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clear blue eyes.
He was so care-

the bottom of the area steps, pale ful with the children that in the and anxious. She used to open afternoon nurse sometimes left him the window, and before she could on guard while she was down-stairs. speak the eager voice would say,

Thomas," I said one day, “ How is miss May?-_is she any "what is that sticking out of your worse—has she slept?”

And on pocket?" He turned very red that terrible night when we thought and pulled his hair.

she was dying, Thomas sat at the " Please, mum, it's a pipe." end of the kitchen by the side

“A pipe! Where did you get table white and silent, waiting it?"

with burning eyes and a breathless Bought it, mum."

misery that almost seemed to suf“ But you are

not going to focate him. Late that night Jane smoke, I hope?" He tried hard went down and reported, “The not to laugh, but the idea of doctor says she is a little better." smoking was too much for him. Thomas sprang to his feet for one

“ Please, mum, I bought it to moment, then sat down again, and teach iniss May how to blow resting his face on his arm on the bubbles," he said, with as grand table sobbed bitterly at last. an air as if he had bought it to When May was better, Thomas teach her Arabic.

was taken up to see her. He Another week, and Jane re- stopped for a moment outside her turned. Thomas got a place at a door as if to gather strength, and felt paper-shop, and carried out papers his side-pocket anxiously: there every morning; but on Saturday was something there that bulged, afternoons he generally paid cook but I pretenaed not to see it. He a visit, and went up to see the drew a long breath as he entered children. One day I discovered her room. that he had a voice. Going past "Are you better, miss May?" the nursery door, I heard May say, he asked.

"Yes, do sing it again, please, "

“Yes, thank you, Thomas, dear,” Thomas,” and then a weak little she said. voice began

" You've been very bad," and he

shook his head mournfully. “ A little seed is in the ground,

“ Poor Thomas !" she sighed, just A little tiny seed;

as if she knew all that he had sufWhen it grows up what will it be,

fered. A flower or a weed ?"

“I don't know what we should I opened the door. “Why, have done if you hadn't got better, Thomas," I said, “I didn't know miss May." you could sing."

" Do

you know any more songs ?” “ Please, mum, mother taught she asked. He shook his head : he me,” he said; “she sings beauti- had had no heart for songs. ful, and so do little Gracie."

“I kept your garden in order,” Then that time came in which he said ; “the primroses are coming May fell ill. There was hardly a

There was hardly a up, and there's three snowdrops hope of her recovery. And through out." all those sad days none grieved “ I am so glad. What's that in more than Thomas. Every morn- your pocket, sticking out ?” ing, as soon as cook came down, she “ It's the mice,” he answered, heard a tap at the kitchen win- smiling for the first time. " I've dow, and there stood Thomas at had' em this fortnight ready against

a

dents coming from these differ- and 1885-86. Out of a total of ent classes of schools. For this 121 prizes gained in all the Latin purpose let us take first the vari- classes in those three

years, I ous higher examinations, the pass- find that 89 were carried off ing of which implies distinction by students who had been eduon the part of the student. The cated for not less than three years best first-year students enter for at a secondary school: only 30 by the Preliminary Examination, students either entirely educated which admits to the three-years' at elementry schools, or who had course in Arts. In November been for less than three years at a 1886, 35 students passed this secondary school. In the Greek examination in Latin. Of these, classes for the same three years no less than 31 were educated at there were 143 prizes gained. Of secondary schools. Previous years these, 108 were gained by secondexhibit similar figures : and it may ary school students (defined as be said generally, that almost the above), only 33 by elementary whole of those who pass this ex- school students. This test, howamination come from secondary ever, is scarcely sufficient in it. schools. The main exceptions self. It is no doubt a fact that, come from Garnethill and simi- in many cases, students who have lar schools, in which a system- had an imperfect previous trainatic effort is made to organise a ing at school make good their regular secondary course. Second, deficiencies at the university; let us take the annual Bursary and it might be expected that in Competition, success in which is the later years of the university the great object of ambition for first- course, especially in the subjects year students. In November 1885 of Literature and Philosophy, the there were 59 names placed upon difficulties caused by a lack of clasthe distinguished list. Of these, sical training at the outset would 49 came from secondary schools, 4 be overcome, and that the greater from Garnethill, 2 from other pub- zeal and ability of students who lic schools. In November 1886, have found their way to the unithere were 44 names on this list. versity from elementary schools Of these, 40 came from secondary would enable them to come conschools in Scotland, 2 from similar spicuously to the front. But the schools in England, 2 from public facts as a whole show that this schools under School Boards in is not so. The secondary school Scotland. These facts tell their students appear to retain their own tale. They show that, except advantage from the beginning of in cases where special provision has the course to the end, though been made to add on a systematic there is undoubtedly a certain course of really higher instruction, proportion of students who bethe ordinary board-schools cannot long to the class described above, prepare students so as to take a and who inake such good use of distinguished place when they enter their time at the university that the university.

they rise above many of those Next, let us examine the vari.. who outstripped them during their ous prize-lists in the different first session. I may explain that classes of the university. I take the figures here given, though first the prizes that have been substantially accurate, are not exgained in the Latin classes in the haustive, as there is a small numthree sessions, 1883-84, 1884-85, ber of the prizemen whose school

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