Beg your pardon, governor! By your leave! said Riderhood, knuckling his forehead, with a chuckle and a leer. What place may this be?
This is a school.
Where young folks learns wots right? said Riderhood, gravely nodding. Beg your pardon, governor! By your leave! But who teaches this school?
Youre the master, are you, learned governor?
Yes. I am the master.
And a lovely thing it must be, said Riderhood, fur to learn young folks wots right, and fur to know wot they know wot you do it. Beg your pardon, learned governor! By your leave! That there black board; wots it for?
It is for drawing on, or writing on.
Is it though! said Riderhood. Whod have thought it, from the looks on it! Would you be so kind as write your name upon it, learned governor? (In a wheedling tone.)
Bradley hesitated for a moment; but placed his usual signature, enlarged, upon the board.
I aint a learned character myself, said Riderhood, surveying the class, but I do admire learning in others. I should dearly like to hear these here young folks read that there name off, from the writing.
The arms of the class went up. At the miserable masters nod, the shrill chorus arose: Bradley Headstone!
No? cried Riderhood. You dont mean it? Headstone! Why, thats in a churchyard. Hooroar for another turn!
Another tossing of arms, another nod, and another shrill chorus: Bradley Headstone!
Ive got it now! said Riderhood, after attentively listening, and internally repeating: Bradley. I see. Chrisen name, Bradley simlar to Roger which is my own. Eh? Famly name, Headstone, simlar to Riderhood which is my own. Eh?
Shrill chorus. Yes!
Might you be acquainted, learned governor, said Riderhood, with a person of about your own heighth and breadth, and wot ud pull down in a scale about your own weight, answering to a name sounding summat like Totherest?
With a desperation in him that made him perfectly quiet, though his jaw was heavily squared; with his eyes upon Riderhood; and with traces of quickened breathing in his nostrils; the schoolmaster replied, in a suppressed voice, after a pause: I think I know the man you mean.
I thought you knowed the man I mean, learned governor. I want the man.
With a half glance around him at his pupils, Bradley returned:
Do you suppose he is here?
Begging your pardon, learned governor, and by your leave, said Riderhood, with a laugh, how could I suppose hes here, when theres nobody here but you, and me, and these young lambs wot youre a
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