Chapter 6


The next morning Master Jack Easy was not only very sore but very hungry, and as Mr. Bonnycastle informed him, that he would not only have plenty of cane, but also no breakfast, if he did not learn his letters, Johnny had wisdom enough to say the whole alphabet, for which he received a great deal of praise, the which, if he did not duly appreciate, he at all events infinitely preferred to beating. Mr. Bonnycastle perceived that he had conquered the boy by one hour’s well-timed severity. He therefore handed him over to the ushers in the school, and as they were equally empowered to administer the needful impulse, Johnny very soon became a very tractable boy.

It may be imagined that the absence of Johnny was severely felt at home, but such was not the case. In the first place, Dr. Middleton had pointed out to Mrs. Easy that there was no flogging at the school, and that the punishment received by Johnny from his father would very likely be repeated—and in the next, although Mrs. Easy thought that she never could have survived the parting with her own son, she soon found out that she was much happier without him. A spoilt child is always a source of anxiety and worry, and after Johnny’s departure, Mrs. Easy found a quiet and repose much more suited to her disposition. Gradually she weaned herself from him, and, satisfied with seeing him occasionally, and hearing the reports of Dr. Middleton, she, at last, was quite reconciled to his being at school, and not coming back except during the holidays. John Easy made great progress; he had good natural abilities, and Mr. Easy rubbed his hands when he saw the Doctor, saying, “Yes, let them have him for a year or two longer, and then I’ll finish him myself.” Each vacation he had attempted to instil into Johnny’s mind the equal rights of man. Johnny appeared to pay but little attention to his father’s discourses, but evidently showed that they were not altogether thrown away, as he helped himself to everything he wanted, without asking leave. And thus was our hero educated until he arrived at the age of sixteen, when he was a stout, good-looking boy, with plenty to say for himself—indeed, when it suited his purpose, he could out-talk his father.

Nothing pleased Mr. Easy so much as Jack’s loquacity.—“That’s right; argue the point, Jack—argue the point, boy,” would he say, as Jack disputed with his mother. And then he would turn to the Doctor, rubbing his hands, and observe, “Depend upon it, Jack will be a great, a very great man.” And then he would call Jack, and give him a guinea for his cleverness; and at last Jack thought it a very clever thing to argue. He never would attempt to argue with Mr. Bonnycastle, because he was aware that Mr. Bonnycastle’s arguments were too strong for him, but he argued with all the boys until it ended in a fight, which decided the point; and he sometimes argued with the ushers. In short, at the time we now speak of, which was at the breaking up of the Midsummer holidays, Jack was as full of argument as he was fond of it. He would argue the point to the point of a needle, and he would divide that point into as many as there were days of the year, and argue upon each. In short, there was no end to Jack’s arguing the point, although there seldom was point to his argument.

Jack had been fishing in the river, without any success, for a whole morning, and observed a large pond which had the appearance of being well stocked—he cleared the park palings, and threw in his line. He had pulled up several fine fish, when he was accosted by the proprietor, accompanied by a couple of keepers.

“May I request the pleasure of your name, young gentleman?” said the proprietor to Jack.

Now Jack was always urbane and polite.

“Certainly, sir; my name is Easy, very much at your service.”

“And you appear to me to be taking it very easy,” replied the gentleman. “Pray, sir, may I inquire whether you are aware that you are trespassing?”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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