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We have no doubt whatever that this occupation
was the principal solace of his existence.

A profound respect for money pervaded
Our School, which was, of course, derived
from its Chief. We remember an idiotic
goggle-eyed boy, with a big head and
half-crowns without end, who suddenly appeared
as a parlor-boarder, and was rumoured to
have come by sea from some mysterious part
of the earth where his parents rolled in gold.
He was usually called "Mr." by the Chief,
and was said to feed in the parlor on steaks
and gravy; likewise to drink currant wine.
And he openly stated that if rolls and coffee
were ever denied him at breakfast, he would
write home to that unknown part of the
globe from which he had come, and cause
himself to be recalled to the regions of gold.
He was put into no form or class, but learnt
alone, as little as he likedand he liked very
littleand there was a belief among us that
this was because he was too wealthy to be
"taken down." His special treatment, and
our vague association of him with the sea,
and with storms, and sharks, and Coral Reefs,
occasioned the wildest legends to be circulated
as his history. A tragedy in blank verse was
written on the subjectif our memory does
not deceive us, by the hand that now chronicles
these recollectionsin which his father figured
as a Pirate, and was shot for a voluminous
catalogue of atrocities: first imparting to his
wife the secret of the cave in which his wealth
was stored, and from which his only son's
half-crowns now issued. Dumbledon (the
boy's name) was represented as "yet unborn"
when his brave father met his fate; and the
despair and grief of Mrs. Dumbledon at that
calamity was movingly shadowed forth as
having weakened the parlor-boarder's mind.
This production was received with great favor,
and was twice performed with closed doors in
the dining-room. But, it got wind, and was
seized as libellous, and brought the unlucky
poet into severe affliction. Some two years
afterwards, all of a sudden one day, Dumbledon
vanished. It was whispered that the
Chief himself had taken him down to the
Docks, and re-shipped him for the Spanish
Main; but nothing certain was ever known
about his disappearance. At this hour, we
cannot thoroughly disconnect him from California.

Our School was rather famous for mysterious
pupils. There was anothera heavy young
man, with a large double-cased silver watch,
and a fat knife the handle of which was a
perfect tool-boxwho unaccountably appeared
one day at a special desk of his own, erected
close to that of the Chief, with whom he held
familiar converse. He lived in the parlor,
and went out for walks, and never took the
least notice of useven of us, the first boy
unless to give us a depreciatory kick, or
grimly to take our hat off and throw it
away, when he encountered us out of doors:
which unpleasant ceremony he always
performed as he passednot even condescending
to stop for the purpose. Some of us believed
that the classical attainments of this
phenomenon were terrific, but that his penmanship
and arithmetic were defective, and he
had come there to mend them; others, that he
was going to set up a school, and had paid the
Chief "twenty-five pound down," for leave to
see our school at work. The gloomier spirits
even said that he was going to buy us; against
which contingency, conspiracies were set on
foot for a general defection and running
away. However, he never did that. After
staying for a quarter, during which period,
though closely observed, he was never seen to
do anything but make pens out of quills, write
small-hand in a secret portfolio, and punch
the point of the sharpest blade in his knife
into his desk, all over it, he too disappeared,
and his place knew him no more.

There was another boy, a fair, meek boy,
with a delicate complexion and rich curling
hair, who, we found out, or thought we found
out (we have no idea now, and probably
had none then, on what grounds, but it was
confidentially revealed from mouth to mouth),
was the son of a Viscount who had
deserted his lovely mother. It was understood
that if he had his rights, he would
be worth twenty thousand a year. And
that if his mother ever met his father, she
would shoot him with a silver pistol which
she carried, always loaded to the muzzle, for
that purpose. He was a very suggestive
topic. So was a young Mulatto, who was
always believed (though very amiable) to have
a dagger about him somewhere. But, we
think they were both outshone, upon the
whole, by another boy who claimed to have
been born on the twenty-ninth of February,
and to have only one birthday in five years.
We suspect this to have been a fictionbut
he lived upon it all the time he was at Our
School.

The principal currency of Our School was
slate-pencil. It had some inexplicable value,
that was never ascertained, never reduced to
a standard. To have a great hoard of it, was
somehow to be rich. We used to bestow it in
charity, and confer it as a precious boon upon
our chosen friends. When the holidays
were coming, contributions were solicited for
certain boys whose relatives were in India,
and who were appealed for under the generic
name of "Holiday-stoppers,"—appropriate
marks of remembrance that should enliven
and cheer them in their homeless state.
Personally, we always contributed these
tokens of sympathy in the form of
slate-pencil, and always felt that it would be a
comfort and a treasure to them.

Our School was remarkable for white mice.
Red-polls, linnets, and even canaries, were
kept in desks, drawers, hat-boxes, and other
strange refuges for birds; but white mice
were the favourite stock. The boys trained
the mice, much better than the masters

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