A week passed by and still Mr. Whooney did not discover his loss. It became intolerable to Ned; he could not bear the sight of Durkey; he wrote to his father for the hundred dollars, but got no answer. Eagerly, he inspected the letters, when the mail was brought in, but there was none for him.
One day, Robert Graham was sitting by himself, in the school-room, when one of the boys came in, and handed him a letter.
He did not recognize the handwriting. The letter was a heavy one, and seemed to have something in it. He looked at it, on all sides, and wondered where it came from and what was in it. At last, he opened it; he perceived that it was from Mrs. Dorothy, although not in her handwriting. This, however, was soon explained, for she said, "my own eyes, and your grandmother's, are so weak that I have got a friend to "write this letter for me. I enclose you four five-dollar gold pieces, for you to spend as you please. Be generous with them; but do not say who gave them to you."
Four five-dollar gold pieces! He had never had so much money, at a time, before, in his life, and he put the letter into his pocket, and commenced tossing them up and down. As he did so, one rolled along the floor, a little distance, and got lodged in a crack. The more he worked at it, the more it got wedged in, and he spent some time in trying to get it out. He did not notice several boys, who came into the room. At last, they came up to him, and Ned Stebbins, who was with them, asked him, "What are you looking for?"
"I've dropped a five-dollar gold piece, and it has got into this crack."
"It's too bad," said several of the boys, and Ned and two others stooped down to help him. They continued working at it, for about ten minutes, when the boys came flocking in, and presently Mr. Whooney rang the bell for study. The boys got up, reluctantly, and several of them said--
"It's a five-dollar gold piece; can't we have five minutes more?"
"Who has lost it?" said Mr. Whooney.
"Robert Graham," answered several voices.
Mr. Whooney, very kindly, took a pair of small pincers from his desk, and came down to the place. In a moment more, he had drawn out the five-dollar gold piece. As he did so, his eye seemed to be attracted to something about it, and he took it in his hand, to his desk. He looked at it, carefully, by the light of the lamp, and then, calling Robert to him, asked him where he had got it.
"It was a present to me," said Robert; he was a little confused, for he remembered that Mrs. Dorothy had said, "Do not mention who gave them to you."
Mr. Whooney, however, persisted, "who gave it to you?"
"I had rather not tell," said Robert.
Mr. Whooney looked at it, carefully.
"Is it counterfeit?" said Robert.
"No!" said Mr. Whooney. "It is--nothing at all," he added and handed it back to Robert.
Mr. Whooney's inspection, and the word counterfeit, gave the piece an added interest in the eyes of the boys, and especially of Snippers; and so, in the few moments before they were called to order, it was handed round, from one to another.
"What a notch that is, in it! I wonder how it came there," said Durkey, who had joined the group. "I should think some one had made it, to mark it, should not you, Mr. Whooney?" he said, turning to the teacher, who was standing near by, with his hand upon the bell.
At recess, Robert was a great object of interest to all the boys, and especially to Snippers, who was already calculating how much he could make for himself, out of the four five-dollar gold pieces.
It was just before recess was over, that Cropsey came into the room looking very serious; somebody asked him, "What's the matter, Cropsey; is your grandmother dead?" "No," said Cropsey, "but did you know that Hubbers was awful sick?"
"Sick!" said several of the boys. "Is anything the matter with his big toe?"
"Pooh!" said another, "I saw him yesterday and he has nothing but a sore throat. He was having a jolly old time, in Jollipop's room, reading a Harper's Weekly."
"I guess I'll make believe sick, too," said Popkins, "you get lots of goodies."
"I tell you," said Cropsey, "the Doctor was here, just before the school, and says he's got the diphtheria, and he's afraid he won't get well. He says he's got a weak constitution, and if you go up stairs, by the sick room, you can smell an awful stench."
"I guess it's a smell of stewed oysters," said Popkins, "that's all."
"You go, and see," said Cropsey.
Two or three of the boys went out, and up stairs, and after a while returned, very quietly, and said they had seen Mrs. Jollipop, who had told them not to go up that way, and when they asked how he was, shook her head.
There crept a silence over the school and the boys whispered to one another. Popkins whistled and began to sing; but the boys, generally, shrank away from him, as though, in some way, he was accountable for Hubbers' sickness.
"I wouldn't like to be Popkins," said Cropsey, to another little boy, "if Hubbers should die."
"Why not? ' said the other.
"Don't you know how he tried to keep Hubbers from saying his prayers, and how he treated him those times? It used to make Hubbers cry, lots, oft' by himself, and when he was in bed, I used to hear him."
The general feeling, through the school, when they went to bed, was, that they wouldn't like to be Popkins; that's all. That night, several of the boys knelt down and said their prayers, besides Rob and Cropsey, and several more said them in bed. There was a general opinion, that if Hubbers died, he would go straight to heaven. There was a decided feeling, also, in favor of saying prayers, and being good. The boys, generally, gathered around Robert Graham, who might be said, to unite, in these times, the world and the Church, having four five-dollar gold pieces, and having always said his prayers. Robert did not seem to realize the importance of his position, but was thinking a great deal about poor little Hubbers; but Cropsey, as one who had been Hubbers' intimate friend, became the head of the movement. Several of the boys came over, and sat on his bed. He told them all he knew about Hubbers' family and relations, and when any of the boys asked questions, the general reply was, "go ask Cropsey, he knows all about him; Hubbers used to tell him lots.''
All this produced a little crowd around Cropsey, who sat on a moral throne, surrounded by his courtiers.
"He's got no father nor mother," said Cropsey; "they both died in the West Indies. He don't remember his father; but he does his mother; he's got a pretty picture of her, but he never showed it to any one but me, for fear he'd be laughed at. That's the reason he always said his prayers, because he promised his mother he would, and he'd have said 'em, too, if you had torn him in two pieces. I guess I wouldn't like to be the fellow, now, that tried to stop him."
This last, was said by Cropsey, in a loud tone of voice, and was intended for Popkins, who couldn't stand it any longer, and had crept over to the outskirts of the circle, of which Cropsey was the centre. Popkins broke out into an oath, with an angry answer, whenever Guffins turned on him.
"A pretty time to be swearing, when there's a boy dying."
"I say so, too!" said another boy. "And I, too!" said another.
Popkins looked all around, for some one to take his part, but they were all intent on what Cropsey was saying, and he felt himself to be excommunicated, and he shrank away.
After the lamps were out, Popkins crept over to Crop, sey's bed and said, in a whisper, "I say, Cropsey!"
"What is it?" said Cropsey, in a tone of virtuous reproach.
"Don't you want a jack-knife? 'cause if you do, here's mine."
Now, this was a great temptation to Cropsey, for Pop-kins' jack-knife was well known in the school, and he had lost his own a week or two before.
As I am now writing a true history, I cannot say that Cropsey was not tempted. It was something to have Popkins, who ruled the Dormitory, thus suing foi peace; it was something more to get a good jack-knife. I am afraid Cropsey would have taken the jack-knife, had not, just then, a gleam of moon-light fallen on Rubbers' empty bed, and he turned quickly over to the other side of the bed, as far away from Popkins and the jack-knife as he could, and said, in a gruff voice, to Popkins, "No, I don't."
Popkins got up and went away, and got to bed.
The next morning, it was reported that Hubbers was a little better, and straightway everybody in the school thought he would get well, and almost forgot all about him, before night. As Hubbers got better, Cropsey's influence declined, and Popkins, once more, was in the ascendant.
Towards evening, a cold, March rain, set in. The wind from the far-off Atlantic, moaned and whistled; the rain beat, heavily, against the east windows of the school.
It was one of those dreary evenings, when, even when all is bright and cheerful, one cannot help feeling desolate. This night, as the news spread about that Hubbers was worse again, even the spirits of the boys, which, generally nothing could depress, sank under it. The little fellow j were afraid to go out into the dark hall, and made all sorts of excuses to go with some one else, They went out by out-of-the-way circuits, to avoid the hall in which the sick room was, and when school was called, Mr. Whooney, for once, had no difficulty in keeping order. At recess, Snippers beckoned Whiffles aside, and privately, gave him five cents, without stating for what, although Whiffles felt that if it was intended as an act of restitution, it was quite insufficient.
Guffins withdrew from the others, carefully put his desk in order, and, from a hidden corner, drew out a Bible, which no one knew he possessed, and began reading at the place where he had left off some two years before, which happened to be the Book of Leviticus.
Most of the boys wrote letters home, in whkh they quoted fragments of hymns, and referred, pathetically, to Hubbers. There was a sense of expectation, as though something would happen.
When Mrs. Jollipop came in at the door, whiskered something to Mr. Whooney, and asked Robert Graham to come with her, the boys were so still you could have heard a pm drop.
In his study, sat Dr. Neverasoie. How comfortable everything was; the heavy curtains shut out the sound of the storm, a bright light burned on the stand, placed before the fire, and the coals sparkled and glowed in the grate.
The Doctor was in dressing gown and slippers, reading the Progressive freeman; just then the door opened, and in came Mrs. Jollipop.
She came and stood opposite to the Doctor, and said to him--
"The little boy cannot live--he will not last till morning."
"Oh, dear!" said the Doctor, "It is too bad!"
The Doctor seemed to feel as if Hubbers was really injuring him, and dying, as it were, on purpose.
"I hope you are doing everything for him, Mrs. Jolli. pop. Let him have every comfort and luxury, and spare no expense."
"Comforts and luxuries!" said Mrs. Jollipop, "Pooh! he can't eat--the poor little fellow's mind is just as clear as it ever was, and he wants somebody to come and pray with him."
"Does he know he is going to die?" said the Doctor.
"I am not sure," said Mrs. Jollipop. "He ought to be told."
"No indeed, no indeed!" said the Doctor, emphatically.
"Why not?" said Mrs. Jollipop.
"It would make him feel so bad," said the Doctor; "and it might hasten his departure. Such a dreadful excitement, as it would be."
"It couldn't make any difference," said Mrs. Jollipop. "I suppose God takes care of people, in death, as well as in life, and it says--'Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.' "
Dr. Neverasole did not answer. He was not a hardhearted man, at all; it was only that he was not prepared for the emergency. Into his calculations, and his mode of instruction, and his care of his scholars, death did not enter. Of course, people must die, but being in vigorous health, he did not think much about it, as regarding himself; and as to the boys, was he not training them to be business men--to make money--in short, to live; and what had death to do- with that?" Thus, death, creeping in, in this unexpected way, uninvited, not desired, having no legitimate place in his scheme of training; seemed to him to be taking great liberties with the Dorchester Polytechnic Academy. He would have been angry, and resisted, had he dreamed he could have any chance with death; but knowing he could not, he only felt an injured feeling, as though a wrong had been done him, and was merely anxious to get through with a disagreeable business, which he could not avoid, with as little that was unpleasant, as possible.
"It is too late, and the storm is too bad, to send to Dorchester for a minister, and Professor Poggers is away." he said, after a moment's thought. "I am sorry, but it cannot be helped."
"You ought to come yourself," said Mrs. Jollipop.
Just then the door opened, and Mrs. Neverasole, with her cap all awry, rushed in.
"Come up stairs, Mrs. Jollipop; I am afraid to be there alone. He lies so still, I chink he will die every minute."
Mrs. Jollipop did not wait for another word, but hurried off.
The Doctor paced up and down the room.
"It's too bad--too bad! What did I take him for--I knew he was delicate--and diphtheria, too!"
"You must go up stairs. Nehemiah, my dear," said Mrs. Neverasoie, "it will look bad if you do not go and speak to him--and he keeps asking for you. I think," she continued solemnly, "he wants to make his last testament, or something."
Mrs. Neverasole felt very differently from the Doctor In a solemn, melancholy \ya.y, she rather enjoyed the excitement of a death in the family. Although not particularly useful, she was a great deal in the sick-room. She privately told Mehitabel, that Rubbers would make a beautiful corpse; she kept making, in her own mind, all the arrangements for the funeral, and had, indeed, already begun a touching letter to Hubbers grandfather, who was too old and infirm to come to him, and who was, also, his sole relative, except a sister, who was traveling in Europe.
Presently, she left the room, and the Doctor followed her.
The sick-room door was open, to give as much air as possible, and the dying boy lay upon the bed, breathing with difficulty. His hands kept aimlessly clutching at something, and picking at the bed-clothes; he could not lie easy in any position, and kept asking to be moved. Mrs. Jollipop bent over him, helping. On the other side of the bed, sat Robert Graham, whom he had asked for, a little while before, and whom Mrs. Jollipop had told to stay.
Hubbers opened his eyes and saw Dr. Neverasole. He knew him at once, and said, in a voice strangely strong--
The Doctor bent over the bed.
"Doctor am I going to die? Please tell me!"
The Doctor hesitated, and coughed, and then said, "I hope you will get well--I hope you will; we will do all we can for you; be quiet and don't be frightened!"
Hubbers fixed his large eyes, full upon the Doctor, and repeated the question:
"Doctor, am I going to die?"
"Don't think about it Hubbers. Lie still!"
Hubbers gave a groan and said--
"Won't somebody tell me, and pray for me?"
"Tell him," said Mrs. Jollipop to the Doctor.
The Doctor moved away.
Mrs. Jollipop could stand it no longer--so she leaned over him and said--
"Poor little lamb! Jesus, the Saviour, will take care of you, it says in the Bible, 'When thou passest through the waters, I .will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.'"
"Please pray that I may be forgiven!"
"Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world!" said- Mrs. Jollipop, and in trie stillness of the sick-room sounded the response, in the clear voice of the dying lad, "Have mercy upon me."
"Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world!" she said again, and once more the answer
"Grant me thy peace!"
Just then, a shadow seemed to creep over his face, his breath came slower and slower. Mrs. Jollipop clasped her hands, and burst into tears. The Doctor and Mrs. Nevera-sole came nearer. Mrs. Jollipop moved to the stand, and .took up her Prayer Book, which lay there; she quickly opened it, and handed it to Robert, and said, "Read it, I can not!"
"Robert knelt down upon his knees, and began the awful prayer which commends the parting soul into the hands of God. "O, Almighty God, with whom do live the spirits of just men made perfect, after they are delivered from their earthly prisons, we humbly commend the soul of this, thy servant, our dear brother, into Thy hands, as into the hands of a faithful Creator, and most merciful Saviour most humbly beseeching Thee, that it may be precious in Thy sight,"
He finished the prayer. There was a dreadful stillness in the room. The clock, upon the wall, seemed to tick louder than any clock ever ticked before. The face of poor little Hubbers was gazing at him, and his eyes were fixed upon him, but there was no sound of breathing. He listened, and listened, but there was no sound. The only thing that could be heard, coming through the open door was the noise of the boys, leaving the school-room, and going up to bed, and now and then, a voice louder than the rest. The contrast between the busy life below, and the quiet of death there, only made the stillness more awful. Just then, Mrs. Jollipop arose, and closed his eyes.
"He is at rest," she said.
Mrs. Neverasole looked at the little fellow, and Doctor Neverasole looked at him, and then he gave his wife lib arm, and they went down stairs.
"Is he dead?" said Robert; he could not realize it yet.
"Yes,' said Mrs. Jollipop, "there is a great deal to be done. I think Mrs. Neverasole might have staid. I shall have to run down stairs--you must wait here."
"She did not wait for his answer, but hurried out of the door, shutting it after her. Robert was left alone with the dead boy. His first impulse, was to run after Mrs. Jollipop, and beg her to stay and let him run down for her. Indeed, he got as far as the door, where he remembered his grandmother had once told him, that he must never be afraid to do anything that was right. That was cowardly, and so he came back again. He took up the Prayer Book, which was lying on the bed, and said the same prayer over again.
"He then opened the Psalter, and his eye fell on the twenty-third Psalm.
"The Lord is my shepherd;" and there was a new meaning to the words he had heard so often. "Yea, when T walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me."
He closed the book, and still Mrs. Jollipop did not come. Suddenly it flashed across him, what if Hubbers vas not dead? he had read of such a thing in a book once. He looked at his face, it seemed as if he breathed--his eyes were partly opened, and he had seen Mrs. Jollipop close them. What if he should start up in bed? He looked again--surely he moved; or was it just the flickering shadow, which the candle, moved by some current of air, from the half open window, cast upon his face?
Robert started to his feet; he must run after Mrs. Jollipop. Then he said to himself, "What if he should want a drink of water, or something, and there should be no one to give it to him?" No! he would wait; Mrs. Jollipop could not be long. He took ihe candle in his hand and looked into the silent features. The more he looked, the more it seemed as if he breathed. He spoke. "Hubbers!" he said, "are you awake?" he was frightened at the sound of his own voice, and as Mrs. Jollipop opened the door, he gave a scream of fright.
"What's the matter?" said Mrs. Jollipop, who was followed by one of the servants.
"Isn't he alive? Mrs. Jollipop."
Mrs. Jollipop cast an uneasy look at the dead child, and ·id gently, "I shouldn't have left you alone. I don't hardly know what I'm about, but you're a brave boy, God Mess you! But you had better go to bed now."
The next day, the sun shone out as brightly as possible and there was a breath of spring in the air. It seemed to make it the more sorrowful, that nature should be so bright School went on, as usual, but the teachers were, more .than usually, placable and good-natured. Dr. Neverasole made quite a speech to the boys, which was considered by them all, as very appropriate. In play-hour, by general consent, there was no play; and when two or three went off, behind the Gymnasium, and tried to get up a game of marbles, on a piece of dry ground there was there, in the southern exposure, Bolmer and Guffins put a stop to it at once.
"It was just like Sunday," Whiffles said, "or Fast day, except that they did not play ball, in the afternoon."
Durkey called all the boys together, in the Gymnasium, and a meeting was held. Whiffles, who had already pro-' cured a cravat of black crape, was appointed Secretary; Bolmer, Vice President; Snippers--although the vote was-not unanimous--was made Treasurer; Stebbins, Guffins and Perkins, Committee of Arrangements.
Popkins was not appointed to anything, "and there' was a general feeling," among the smaller boys, that he ought not to attend. Indeed, Cropsey openly said so, and Popkins left the Gymnasium, after a little while, and went away. Durkey's speech, at the opening of the meeting, was thought very fine, and when the Committee of Arrangements reported the following resolutions, the excitement was at its height.
WHEREAS, It has pleased the stern decrees of Providence, to remove from this mundane sphere, our deceased brother, Charles T. Hubbers, whose exemplary deportment, lofty virtue, and soul-inspiring patriotism, we have witnessed s in our daily avocations,
"Resolved, That his memory shall ever remain in our bosoms, imperishable as, monumental brass, and continue a blooming oasis in the midst of the sandy desert of
"Resolved, That we pour forth the sympathizing tear, in conjunction with the family and friends of our deceased school-mate, and wear a badge of sorrowing affliction upon our arms for thirty days.
"Resolved, That these resolutions be sent to the friends of the deceased, and be published in the Dorchester Daily Lyar."
There was a good deal of discussion upon the phrase, "soul-inspiring patriotism," which, after a speech from Guffins, in which he alluded, feelingly, to the star-spangled banner, was carried by a large majority.
Before the meeting adjourned, Whiffles read to the boys, a letter he had prepared, as Secretary, to go to Rubbers' grandfather. It was as follows:
"MY AGED FRIEND :--The mutability of human events, revolving in its rapid course, has taken away from our sorrowing midst, your grandson Charles, who fell a victim to the fell destroyer, on the evening of March 2cth, 1860. His comrades mourn the blight, which has fallen upon them and upon your hoary head. The enclosed resolutions are the transitory expressions of our bewildering lamentations. Yours, &c.,
After the meeting was over, Robert Graham left the fl&er boys, and went to find Popkins. After looking everywhere, he at last found him looking over the fence at the load.
Robert went up to him and said, "Popkins, I've got a message for you."
"Out with it, then," said Popkins, "and go off with the rest of them; you're so awful pious, I suppose, you won't speak to me any more than you can help. Is it from Neverasole?"
"No," said Robert, but he hesitated before he gave the message, and said, "I don't see why you say that, Popkins. I don't want to keep away from you, I'm sure."
"The rest do anyhow;" said Popkins, "and it's mighty mean! They laughed, and were just as pleased as I was when I used to tease Rubbers, and now, just because he's dead, they all turn on me. If he hadn't of died, they wouldn't have said anything- about it. I'm sure I didn't know he was going to die; If I had I wouldn't have teased him. I can't see why it's so wrong now, that everybody--Guffins and all--should turn against me, when it wasn't wrong a bit, but jolly fun, three weeks ago."
"I suppose, that's just it," said Rob, "it was wrong then; but the boys have just begun to realize it. But I don't see why they should be so hard on you; I'm sure you are sorry for it."
"Sorry!" said Popkins; "I don't see what's the use of being sorry, when he's dead; he'll never know it anyhow."
"Popkins," said Rob, "I want to tell you my message. You know, that night he died, when Mrs. Jollipop came into school for me?"--
"Yes!" said Popkins, gruffly.
"Rubbers said he wanted to see me, and so I went up stairs. He didn't say much, but he said :"
"Rob, will you take a message to Popkins for me?"
"Did he say that?" said Popkins. Don't tell me what he said, for I shall remember it all my life, and it will plague me all the time."
"I don't think it will, Popkins, when you hear it."
"He told me to tell you that he knew you'd feel sorry about those times you teased him; but he hoped you wouldn't feel bad, 'because,' he said, 'I don't mind it at all now, and I shan't think of it any more.' "
There was a pause, and Robert put his hand upon Popkins. Popkins pulled his hand away, and began to whistle Yankee Doodle, as loud as he could, and walked off with his hands in his pockets.
Robert would not have known what to make of it, had he not felt a tear drop on his hand, before Popkins pulled his away; and he thought more of the tear than he did of the whistling.
That night he found, on his desk, wrapped up in a piece of an old letter, a gold tooth-pick, and written in a scrawling hand, on the paper,--"Yours truly, John Popkins"--and from that day forward, whenever' Popkins bullied, he never bullied Robert Graham, and used to take sly chances to go and sit by him, and talk to him, and, when he did so, the bad words, which usually filled his mouth, were for the time, at least, forgotten. But Robert's work, for that day, was not over. He had leave to go up to the Dormitory, for a minute, to get something, he had left there; and just as he turned to go out, he heard a sigh. He looked in the direction of the sound, and there, upon his bed, lay Edward Stebbins.
"What's the matter, Ned? '
"I've got an awful headache."
He looked so forlorn and miserable, that Rob stopped and went over to his bed, and sat down by him.
"What's the matter, Ned?" he said again.
"Enough the matter!" said Ned, "see there!" He held out to Robert a crumpled piece of paper, which Rob opened and read. It was a letter from Mr. Stebbins, in which he said:
"I cannot send you the hundred dollars; it is too much. I cannot afford it. You are unreasonable to ask it."
"What did you want a hundred dollars for?" said Rob.
"Nevermind," said Ned, hastily. "I wanted it; that's all." He turned his head away, as he spoke, and hid his face in the pillow.
Rob bent over him and said, "You know I've got four five-dollar gold pieces. I could give them."
"Where did you get them," said Ned, almost fiercely.
"Never mind," said Rob. "I got them. I'll give them to you."
"I don't want them!" said Ned. "Nothing short of a hundred dollars will be of any use."
"What kind of a scrape have you got into, Ned," said Robert kindly, "that it takes a hundred dollars to get you out?"
"Scrape enough?" said Ned, "that ain't the worst of it."
"The worst of what?" said Rob."
"Why!" said Ned, eagerly, "I'm so awful wicked! If I was to die, like Hubbers, I'm sure I shouldn't go to heaven, and I keep thinking of it, all the time."
"Why don't you try to be better?" said Rob.
"Sometimes, I think I will; but what's the use of trying to be better, when there's such a lot that's wicked, behind? I can't get rid of that?"
"God will forgive you if you ask Him, through Jesus Christ, our Lord," said Robert, earnestly.
"I know they say so, said Ned, "but it don't seem to me like anything, to kneel down and ask God to forgive me--it isn't enough--I've done such lots of things!"
"Couldn't you go to some clergyman, and tell him about it? That would be hard enough. Once, when I told a lie," and the tears came rushing into Robert's eyes, as he spoke, "grandmother made me go and tell Mr. Smithett, she said it was so wicked."
"Told a lie!" said Ned, "I wish I had told only one. I've told twenty, and lots besides. You've had your grandmother to take care of you, and I've been brought up by bumps, and all that."
"I know it," said Robert, "and it was dreadfully wicked in me."
"I don't mean that," said Ned; "but I don't think I would ever dare to tell a clergyman, all I've done wrong. He wouldn't speak to me, afterwards, but turn me out of the house;" and Ned put his head over into the pillow, again.
"I'm sure he wouldn't. Mr. Smithett was very kind to me, and said some prayers for me, and I felt a great deal happier after it, and it made me feel as if I would never do the same again."
"Did it?" said Ned.
"Why don't you go down and see Dr. Neverasole, and tell him?" said Rob.
"He ain't a minister, is he?" said Ned.
"No!' said Rob, "but he's the head here."
Ned sat up in bed, "I've a great mind to."
"I would," said Rob; "but first, I would kneel down and ask God to forgive me."
"Yes!" said Ned gravely.
Rob turned and left the Dormitory. Ned heard him close the door, looked all arouftd the Dormitory, stood for a moment irresolute, and was just about to kneel down, when the Dormitory door opened, and in came Durkey.
"Ned, I've been looking for you everywhere."
"I'm glad you've come," said Ned, "I want to tell you something."
"What is it?"
"I can't stand this trick any longer. I must tell Whooney of it!"
"Whiney's away," said Durkey.
"I know it," said Ned, "and I am going to tell Doctor Neverasole.''
"So you are going to turn sneak, are you, and tell of me?"
"No!" said Ned, "I won't say a word about you. I'll tell the whole, about myself. I can't stand it, Durkey," he said, his eyes filling with tears, "and Rubbers lying dead there, too; it frightens me all the time. I must tell it, and if Whooney was to find it out, and ask about it in school, I should just drop down!" As Ned spoke, his face turned so white, that even Durkey was alarmed at his appearance.
"Well, well," he said. "I don't see why you should feel so bad about it. I want to get out of it, too, and I've just come to tell you how we can both get out, without any further trouble; so come with me!" He laid his hand on Ned's shoulder.
"No!" said Ned, "I told Robert Graham I would go to Dr. Neverasole, and so I will!"
"Robert Graham's been putting you up to it, has he? I don't wonder he'd like to have you own up to Dr. Neverasole."
"Well, all I can say is, that he's got four five-dollar gold pieces, which are marked just like some of those in Whoo-ney's bag. Didn't he offer them to you?"
"Yes, he did!" said Rob.
"Ah! I see!" said Durkey, "he'd be glad to get a few of what he stole, into your pocket, and have you own up to Dr. Neverasole. It would get him out of the scrape."
"I don't believe it!" said Ned, "Robert Graham is a good fellow."
"Believe it, or not," said Durkey, "it is so. Just hear my plan, won't you."
"What is it?" said Rob.
"See here!" said Durkey, taking out of his pocket, what looked like a lot of money.
"Five-dollar gold pieces?" said Ned. "Where did you get them?"
"Why, no, they are not!" he added; "they are badges--gilt badges--at three dollars a hundred," said Durkey; "but they are good enough for my purpose."
"What purpose?" said Ned.
"Why, I'll put them into the bag, and, as Whooney's away in Dorchester, put the bag back into his drawer, this afternoon. He can't be the wiser till dooms-day. Come, Ned!" he said, persuasively, "come down to my room and have some oysters!"
"No, I won't," said Ned, hastily drawing his arm away, and rushing out of the Dormitory, "I'll keep my word!"