`Oh, Turkey, kick him!'

In the interests of science, bounds were largely relaxed for the members of the Natural History Society. They could wander, if they kept clear of all houses, practically where they chose; Mr. Hartopp holding himself responsible for their good conduct.

Beetle began to see this as M`Turk began the kicking.

`I'm an ass, Stalky!' he said, guarding the afflicted part. `Pax, Turkey. I'm an ass.'

`Don't stop, Turkey. Isn't your Uncle Stalky a great man?'

`Great man,' said Beetle.

`All the same, bug-huntin's a filthy business,' said M`Turk. `How the deuce does one begin?'

`This way,' said Stalky, turning to some fags' lockers behind him. Fags are dabs at Natural History. `Here's young Braybrooke's botany-case.' He flung out a tangle of decayed roots and adjusted the slide. `'Gives one no end of a professional air, I think. Here's Clay Minor's geological hammer. Beetle can carry that. Turkey, you'd better covet a butterfly-net from somewhere.'

`I'm blowed if I do,' said M'Turk simply, with immense feeling. `Beetle, give me the hammer.'

`All right. I'm not proud. Chuck us down that net on top of the lockers, Stalky.'

`That's all right. It's a collapsible jamboree, too. Beastly luxurious dogs these fags are. Built like a fishin'- rod. 'Pon my sainted Sam, but we look the complete Bug-hunters! Now, listen to your Uncle Stalky! We're goin' along the cliffs after butterflies. Very few chaps come there. We're goin' to leg it, too. You'd better leave your book behind.'

`Not much!' said Beetle firmly. `I'm not goin' to be done out of my fun for a lot of filthy butterflies.'

`Then you'll sweat horrid. You'd better carry my Jorrocks. 'Twon't make you any hotter.'

They all sweated; for Stalky led them at a smart trot west away along the cliffs under the furzehills, crossing combe after gorsy combe. They took no heed to flying rabbits or fluttering fritillaries, and all that Turkey said of geology was utterly unquotable.

`Are we going to Clovelly?' he puffed at last, and they flung themselves down on the short, springy turf between the drone of the sea below and the light summer wind among the inland trees. They were looking into a combe half full of old, high furze in gay bloom that ran up to a fringe of brambles and a dense wood of mixed timber and hollies. It was as though one-half the combe were filled with golden fire to the cliff's edge. The side nearest to them was open grass, and fairly bristled with notice-boards.

`Fee-rocious old cove, this,' said Stalky, reading the nearest. `"Prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law. G.M. Dabney, Col., J.P.," an' all the rest of it. 'Don't seem to me that any chap in his senses would trespass here, does it?'

`You've got to prove damage 'fore you can prosecute for anything! 'Can't prosecute for trespass,' said M`Turk, whose father held many acres in Ireland. `That's all rot!'

`'Glad of that, 'cause this looks like what we wanted. Not straight across, Beetle, you blind lunatic! Any one could stop us half a mile off. This way; and furl up your beastly butterfly-net.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.