I'm sure you all saw how really sorry Rose looked about it; and he said, you know, that it was merely for the sake of school discipline that he put the matter in Rowlands' hands." "Discipline be hanged," shouted Brigson; "we'll have our revenge on him yet, discipline or no." "I hope you won't, though," said Vernon; "I know Eric will be sorry if you do." "The more muff he. We shall do as we like."
About a dozen boys were assembled, and there was a great clapping on the table as the two new-comers entered. A long table was laid down the room, which was regularly spread for dinner. "Now then, Billy; make haste with the goose," called Brigson. "I vote, boys, that Eric Williams takes the chair."
"Well, I shall tell him; and I'm sure he'll ask you not. You know how he tries to stick up for Rose." "If you say a word more," said Brigson, unaccustomed to being opposed among his knot of courtiers, "I'll kick you out of the room; you and that wretched little fool there with you." "You may do as you like," answered Wright, quietly, "but you won't go on like this long, I can tell you."
"I'm not come to reproach you. You don't give me a friend's right to reprove. But still, Eric, for your own sake, dear fellow, I can't help being sorry for all this. I did hope you'd have broken with Brigson after the thrashing I gave him, for the way in which he treated me. I don't think you can know the mischief he is doing."
He knew, or at least feared, that this new scrape might be fatal to him, but, raising his dark and glistening eyes to Mr. Rose, he said penitently "I didn't throw, sir, but I did put out one of the candles that it might be done." The contrast with Brigson was very great; the dark cloud hung a little less darkly on Mr. Rose's forehead, and there was a very faint murmur of applause.
And it was that fellow, that stupid, clumsy, base compound of meanness and malice, that had ruled like a king among them. Faugh! "They call your name! Do you know anything of this?" "No!" said Brigson; "I'll swear I'd nothing to do with it." "Oh-h-h-h!" the long, intense, deep-drawn expression of disgust and contempt ran round the room. "You have told me a lie!" said Mr.
Montagu and others noticed him for Eric's sake; but, being in the same form with Brigson, Vernon was thrown much with him, and feeling, as he did, deserted and lonely, he was easily caught by the ascendancy of his physical strength and reckless daring.
I'll kick him well for it," said Eric. "No, no!" said Montagu, "that'll do no good. Try rather to look after him a little more." "I hope you will forgive him, and try and rescue him." "I will do what I can," said Montagu, coldly. Eric sighed, and they parted. Montagu had hoped that after this Eric would at least break off all open connection with Brigson; and, indeed, Eric had meant to do so.
Upon my word, you're cool, to speak of any of my associates in that way," said Eric, now thoroughly angry. "Associates!" retorted Montagu, hotly; "pretty associates! How do you expect anything good to go on, when fellows high in the school like you have such dealings with the refined honorable Brigson, and the exemplary intellectual Wildney?"
The scene was not over when the door suddenly opened, and Mr. Rose appeared. He stood amazed to see Montagu there in his night-shirt, the boys all round, and Brigson washing his nose, which was bleeding profusely, at his basin. Montagu instantly stepped up to him. "You can trust me, sir; may I ask you kindly to say nothing of this?