A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
[Illustration: "NESTIE WAS STANDING IN THE CENTRE OF THE LARGE ENTRANCE
HALL."]



YOUNG
BARBARIANS

_By_
IAN MACLAREN
Author of "_Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush_"

ILLUSTRATED

NEW YORK
Dodd, Mead and Company
1910



Copyright, 1899 and 1900,
By The Curtis Publishing Company,
as
A SCOTS GRAMMAR SCHOOL.

Copyright, 1900,
By The Curtis Publishing Company.

Copyright, 1901,
By Dodd, Mead and Company.

_First Edition, Published October, 1901_




CONTENTS


I
PAGE

"SPEUG" 1

II

BULLDOG 21

III

NESTIE 39

IV

A FAMOUS VICTORY 59

V

HIS PRIVATE CAPACITY 85

VI

THE DISGRACE OF MR. BYLES 103

VII

THE COUNT 121

VIII

A TOURNAMENT 139

IX

MOOSSY 163

X

A LAST RESOURCE 183

XI

A PLEASANT SIN 205

XII

GUERILLA WARFARE 223

XIII

THE FALL OF GOLIATH 245

XIV

THE BAILIE'S DOUBLE 261

XV

THE TRIUMPH OF THE SEMINARY 281

XVI

BULLDOG'S RECOMPENSE 305




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


"Nestie was standing in the centre of the large
entrance hall." Frontispiece

"Peter dared not lift his head." 36

"'You are an ill-bred c-cad.'" 50

"Seized an excellent position behind two Russian
guns." 66

"Nestie whispered something in Speug's ear." 92

"Speug was dragged along the walk." 96

"They were so friendly that they gathered
round the party." 114

"They were brought in a large spring cart." 118

"Watching a battle royal between the tops." 134

"Before the hour the hall was packed." 158

"Thomas John next instant was sitting on the floor." 170

"The school fell over benches and over another." 174

"His hand closed again upon the sceptre of authority." 202

"They drank without any cup." 218

"Before him stood London John bearing the seductive
advertisement." 240

"A bottle of ferocious smelling-salts was held
to the patient's nose." 252




"SPEUG"

I


Muirtown Seminary was an imposing building of the classical order,
facing the north meadow and commanding from its upper windows a fine
view of the river Tay running rapidly and cleanly upon its gravel bed.
Behind the front building was the paved court where the boys played
casual games in the breaks of five minutes between the hours of study,
and this court had an entrance from a narrow back street along which, in
snow time, a detachment of the enemy from the other schools might steal
any hour and take us by disastrous surprise. There were those who wished
that we had been completely walled up at the back, for then we had met
the attack at a greater advantage from the front. But the braver souls
of our commonwealth considered that this back way, affording
opportunities for ambushes, sallies, subtle tactics, and endless
vicissitudes, lent a peculiar flavour to the war we waged the whole
winter through and most of the summer, and brought it nearer to the
condition of Red Indian fighting, which was our favourite reading and
our example of heroism. Again and again we studied the adventures of
Bill Biddon, the Indian spy, not only on account of his hairbreadth
escapes when he eluded the Indians after a miraculous fashion and
detected the presence of the red varmint by the turning of a leaf on the
ground, but also in order to find out new methods of deceit by which we
could allure our Indians into narrow places, or daring methods of attack
by which we could successfully outflank them on the broader street and
drive them into their own retreats with public ignominy.

Within the building the glory of the Seminary was a massive stone stair,
circular in shape, and having a "well" surrounded on the ground floor by
a wall some three feet high. Down this stair the masters descended at
nine o'clock for the opening of the school, with Bulldog, who was the
mathematical master and the awful pride of the school, at their head,
and it was strictly forbidden that any boy, should be found within the
"well." As it was the most tempting of places for the deposit of
anything in the shape of rubbish, from Highland bonnets to little boys,
and especially as any boy found in the well was sure to be caned, there
was an obvious and irresistible opportunity for enterprise. Peter
McGuffie, commonly called the Sparrow, or in Scotch tongue "Speug," and
one of the two heads of our commonwealth, used to wait with an
expression of such demureness that it ought to have been a danger
signal till Bulldog was halfway down the stair, and a row of boys were
standing in expectation with their backs to the forbidden place. Then,
passing swiftly along, he swept off half a dozen caps and threw them
over, and suddenly seizing a tempting urchin landed him on the bed of
caps which had been duly prepared. Without turning his head one-eighth
of an inch, far less condescending to look over, Bulldog as he passed
made a mental note of the prisoner's name, and identified the various
bonnetless boys, and then, dividing his duty over the hours of the day,
attended to each culprit separately and carefully. If any person, from
the standpoint of this modern and philanthropic day, should ask why some
innocent victim did not state his case and lay the blame upon the
guilty, then it is enough to say that that person had never been a
scholar at Muirtown Seminary, and has not the slightest knowledge of the
character and methods of Peter McGuffie. Had any boy of our time given
information to a master, or, in the Scotch tongue, "had clyped," he
would have had the coldest reception at the hands of Bulldog, and when
his conduct was known to the school he might be assured of such constant
and ingenious attention at the hands of Speug that he would have been
ready to drown himself in the Tay rather than continue his studies at
Muirtown Seminary.

Speug's father was the leading horsedealer of the Scots Midlands, and a
sporting man of established repute, a short, thick-set, red-faced,
loud-voiced, clean-shaven man, with hair cut close to his head, whose
calves and whose manner were the secret admiration of Muirtown. Quiet
citizens of irreproachable respectability and religious orthodoxy
regarded him with a pride which they would never confess; not because
they would have spoken or acted as he did for a king's ransom, and not
because they would have liked to stand in his shoes when he came to
die--considering, as they did, that the future of a horsedealer and an
owner of racing horses was dark in the extreme--but because he was a
perfect specimen of his kind and had made the town of Muirtown to be
known far and wide in sporting circles. Bailie McCallum, for instance,
could have no dealings with McGuffie senior, and would have been
scandalised had he attended the Bailie's kirk; but sitting in his shop
and watching Muirtown life as it passed, the Bailie used to chuckle
after an appreciative fashion at the sight of McGuffie, and to meditate
with much inward satisfaction on stories of McGuffie's exploits--how he
had encountered southern horsedealers and sent them home humbled with
defeat, and had won hopeless races over the length and breadth of the
land. "It's an awfu' trade," McCallum used to remark, "and McGuffie is
no' the man for an elder; but sall, naebody ever got the better o' him
at a bargain." Among the lads of the Seminary he was a local hero, and
on their way home from school they loitered to study him, standing in
the gateway of his stables, straddling his legs, chewing a straw, and
shouting his views on the Muirtown races to friends at the distance of
half a street. When he was in good humour he would nod to the lads and
wink to them with such acuteness and drollery that they attempted to
perform the same feat all the way home and were filled with despair. It
did not matter that we were fed, by careful parents, with books
containing the history of good men who began life with 2_s._ 11_d._, and
died leaving a quarter of a million, made by selling soft goods and
attending church, and with other books relating pathetic anecdotes of
boys who died young and, before they died, delighted society with
observations of the most edifying character on the shortness of life. We
had rather have been a horsedealer and kept a stable.

Most of us regarded McGuffie senior as a model of all the virtues that
were worthy of a boy's imitation, and his son with undisguised envy,
because he had a father of such undeniable notoriety, because he had the
run of the stables, because he was on terms of easy familiarity with his
father's grooms, and because he was encouraged to do those things which
we were not allowed to do, and never exhorted to do those things which
he hated to do. All the good advice we ever got, and all the examples of
those two excellent young gentlemen, the sons of the Rev. Dr.
Dowbiggin, were blown to the winds when we saw Speug pass, sitting in
the high dogcart beside his father, while that talented man was showing
off to Muirtown a newly broken horse. Speug's position on that seat of
unique dignity was more than human, and none of us would have dared to
recognise him, but it is only just to add that Peter was quite unspoiled
by his privileges, and would wink to his humble friends upon the street
after his most roguish fashion and with a skill which proved him his
father's son.



Pages: | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.