`No, Padre; don't make fun of me. I've met chaps in the holidays who've got married housemasters. It's perfectly awful! They have babies and teething and measles and all that sort of thing right bung in the school; and the masters' wives give tea-parties--tea-parties, Padre!--and ask the chaps to breakfast.'
`That don't matter so much,' said Stalky.
`But the house-masters let their houses alone, and they leave everything to the prefects. Why, in one school, a chap told me, there were big baize doors and a passage about a mile long between the house and the master's house. They could do just what they pleased.'
`Satan rebuking sin with a vengeance.'
`It leads to all sorts of bullyin', too, a chap told me,' said Beetle.
`Well, you do need most of a single man's time, I must say.' The Reverend John considered his hosts critically. `But do you never feel that the world--the Common-room--is too much with you sometimes?'
`Not exactly--in summer, anyhow.' Stalky's eye roved contentedly to the window. `Our bounds are pretty big, too, and they leave us to ourselves a good deal.'
`For example, here am I sitting in your study, very much in your way, eh?'
`Indeed you aren't, Padre. Sit down. Don't go, sir. You know we're glad whenever you come.'
There was no doubting the sincerity of the voices. The Reverend John flushed a little with pleasure and refilled his briar.
`And we generally know where the Commonroom are,' said Beetle triumphantly. `Didn't you come through our lower dormitories last night after ten, sir?'
`I went to smoke a pipe with your house-master. No, I didn't give him any impressions. I took a short cut through your dormitories.'
`I sniffed a whiff of 'baccy this mornin'. Yours is stronger than Mr. Prout's. I knew,' said Beetle, wagging his head.
`Good heavens!' said the Reverend John absently. It was some years before Beetle perceived that this was rather a tribute to innocence than observation. The long, light, blindless dor-
`Oh, larks are right enough; but you know what we mean, Padre. After a bit it gets worse an' worse. Then there's a big bust-up and a row that gets into the papers, and a lot of chaps are expelled, you know.'
`Always the wrong uns; don't forget that. Have a cup of cocoa, Padre?' said M`Turk, with the kettle.
`No, thanks; I'm smoking. Always the wrong uns? Pro-ceed, my Stalky.'
`And then'--Stalky warmed to the work--`everybody says, "Who'd ha' thought it? Shockin' boys! Wicked little kids!" It all comes of havin' married house-masters, I think.'
`A Daniel come to judgment!'
`But it does,' M`Turk interrupted. `I've met chaps in the holidays, an' they've told me the same thing. It looks awfully pretty for one's people to see--a nice separate house with a nice lady in charge an' all that. But it isn't. It takes the house-masters off their work, and it gives the prefects a heap too much power, an'--an'--it rots up everything. You see it isn't as if we were just an ordinary school. We take crammers' rejections
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