September 09, 2006


Having made his complaint, Godfrey waited impatiently for the recess
to close, in order that he might see retribution fall upon the head of
Andy. He had not long to wait. Meanwhile, however, he was missed in
the playground.
"Where's Godfrey?" asked one of the boys.
"He don't want to come out. He got a licking from Andy Burke."
"I ain't much sorry. It'll cure him of some of his airs."
"I don't know about that. It comes natural to him to put on airs."
"If anybody has insulted Godfrey," remarked Ben Travers, his toady,
"he had better look out for himself."
"Do you hear that, Andy? Ben Travers says you must look out for
"Who's goin' to punish me?" asked Andy. "If it's Ben, let him come
But Ben showed no disposition to "come on." He could talk and
threaten, but when words were to be succeeded by blows he never was on
hand. In fact he was a coward, and ought to have kept quiet, but it is
just that class that are usually most noisy.
Andy had no idea that Godfrey would complain to the teacher in a
matter where he was so clearly in the wrong, nor would he if he had
not relied upon his father's position to carry him through.
"Mr. Stone is a poor man," he thought, "and he won't dare to take the
part of a low Irish boy against the only son and heir of Colonel
Preston. He knows on which side his bread is buttered, and he won't be
such a fool as to offend my father."
While he said this he knew that it was very doubtful whether his
father would espouse his cause, but then Mr. Stone would probably
suppose he would, which would answer the same purpose on the present
When Andy re-entered the schoolroom with the rest of the boys at the
termination of recess, he saw Godfrey in his seat. The latter darted
at him a glance of malicious triumph.
When the noise of entering was over, Mr. Stone said:
"Andrew Burke, come forward!"
Considerably surprised, Andy came forward, and looked up with a modest
self-possession into the teacher's face.
"A complaint has been entered against you, Andrew," Mr. Stone began.
"What is it, sir?" asked Andy.
"You are charged by Godfrey Preston with violently assaulting and
throwing him down, just before school commenced. Is this true?"
"Yes, sir," answered Andy, promptly.
"You are charged with kneeling down upon him, and preventing his
getting up."
"That is true," said Andy, quite composedly.
"I am surprised that you should have acted in this manner," said Mr.
Stone. "I did not think you quarrelsome or a bully."
"I hope I am not," said Andy. "Did Godfrey tell you why I knocked him
"He said it was because he would not associate with you."
Andy laughed.
"I hope you'll excuse my laughing, sir," he said, respectfully; "but
I'd rather associate with any of the boys than with Godfrey. I like
him least of all."
"Then, that is the reason you attacked him, is it?"
"No, sir."
"Then, what was it?"
"If you don't mind, sir, I'd like to have you ask Alfred Parker."
"Alfred Parker," called out the teacher, "come forward."
Alfred obeyed.
"Do you know why Andrew attacked Godfrey Preston?"
"Yes, sir; it was on my account."
"On your account! Explain."
"This morning, before school, I was playing with another boy, and
accidentally ran into Godfrey. He got mad, and threw me over
violently. Then he pressed his knee on my breast till I could hardly
breathe. I begged him to let me up, but he would not, though he knew
that it was only an accident. While I was lying on the ground, Andy
Burke came up. He no sooner saw me than he ran up, and threw Godfrey
off, and got on him in the same manner, and I think he served him
As he uttered these last words, Godfrey scowled ominously, but Andy's
face brightened up. He was glad that Alfred was brave enough to speak
up for him.
"This alters the case considerably," said the teacher. "Is there any
other boy who witnessed the affair, and can substantiate what has been
said? If so, let him raise his hand."
Herman Reynolds raised his hand.
"Well, Herman, what do you know about it? Were you present?"
"Yes, sir, I was. It was just as Alfred said it was."
"What have you to say, Godfrey?" asked Mr. Stone, sternly.
"I don't mean to be insulted by an Irish boy," said Godfrey,
"Remember where you are, sir, and speak in a more becoming manner. Did
you attack Alfred Parker, as he says?"
"He had no business to run into me."
"Answer my question."
"Yes, I did."
"And did you kneel on his breast?"
"Oblige me by saying, 'Yes, sir.'"
"Yes, sir," said Godfrey, reluctantly.
"Why do you complain, then, of being treated in a similar manner by
"He has no business to touch me."
"If he had not interfered when he saw you maltreating his young
schoolfellow, I should have been ashamed of him," said the teacher.
This so far chimed in with the sentiment of the boys that they almost
involuntarily applauded; and one boy, arising, exclaimed:
"Three cheers for the teacher!"
The three cheers were given with a will, and, though they were,
strictly speaking, out of order, Mr. Stone was a sensible man, and the
only notice he took of it was to say:
"Thank you, boys. I am glad to find that you agree with me on this
point, and that your sympathies are with the weak and oppressed.
Godfrey Preston, your complaint is dismissed. I advise you to cease
acting the part of a bully, or you may get another similar lesson.
Andrew, when you exert your strength, I hope it will always be in as
just a cause. You may take your seat, and you also, Alfred."
The boys would have applauded again, but Mr. Stone said, waving his
"Once is enough, boys. Time is precious, and we must now go on with
our lessons. First class in arithmetic."
Godfrey had been equally surprised and angry at the turn that affairs
had taken. He was boiling with indignation, and nervously moved about
in his seat. After a slight pause, having apparently taken his
determination, he took his cap, and walked toward the door.
Mr. Stone's attention was drawn to him.
"Where are you going, Godfrey?" he demanded, quickly.
"Home," said Godfrey.
"You will wait till the end of school."
"I would rather not, sir."
"It makes no difference what you would rather do, or rather not do.
Are you sick?"
"No, sir."
"Then you have no good cause for leaving, and I shall not permit you
to do so."
"I have been insulted, sir, and I don't wish to stay."
"By whom?" demanded the teacher, sharply.
Godfrey would like to have said, "By you," but he saw the teacher's
keen eye fixed upon him, and he didn't dare to do it. He hesitated.
"By whom?" repeated Mr. Stone.
"By Andrew Burke."
"That is no good reason for your leaving school, or would not be, if
it were true, but it is not. He has only meted out to you the same
punishment you undertook to inflict upon a smaller boy. Take your
"My father will take me away from school," said Godfrey, angrily.
"We shall none of us mourn for your absence. Take your seat."
This last remark of the teacher still further incensed Godfrey, and
led him temporarily to forget himself. Though he had been bidden to
take his seat, he resolved to leave the schoolroom, and made a rush
for the door. But Mr. Stone was there before him. He seized Godfrey by
the collar and dragged him, shaking him as he proceeded, to his seat,
on which he placed him with some emphasis.
"That is the way I treat rebels," he said. "You forget yourself,
Preston. The next time you make up your mind to resist my commands,
count in advance on a much severer lesson."
Godfrey was pale with passion, and his hands twitched convulsively. He
only wished he had Mr. Stone in his power for five minutes. He would
treat him worse than he did Alfred Parker. But a boy in a passion is
not a very pleasant spectacle. It is enough to say that Godfrey was
compelled to stay in school for the remainder of the forenoon. As soon
as he could get away, he ran home, determined to enlist his mother in
his cause.
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