Rugby and Football

“—Foot and eye opposed
  In dubious strife.”


The Rugby Gateway

And so here’s Rugby, sir, at last, and you’ll be in plenty of time for dinner at the School-house, as I tell’d you,” said the old guard, pulling his horn out of its case, and tootle-tooing away; while the coachman shook up his horses, and carried them along the side of the school close, round Deadman’s corner, past the school gates, and down the High Street to the Spread Eagle; the wheelers in a spanking trot, and leaders cantering, in a style which would not have disgraced “Cherry Bob,” “ramping, stamping, tearing, swearing Billy Harwood,” or any other of the old coaching heroes.

Tom’s heart beat quick as he passed the great school-field or close, with its noble elms, in which several games at football were going on, and tried to take in at once the long line of gray buildings, beginning with the chapel, and ending with the school-house, the residence of the head-master, where the great flag was lazily waving from the highest round tower. And he began already to be proud of being a Rugby boy, as he passed the school-gates, with the oriel-window above, and saw the boys standing there, looking as if the town belonged to them, and nodding in a familiar manner to the coachman, as if any one of them would be quite equal to getting on the box, and working the team down street as well as he.

One of the young heroes, however, ran out from the rest, and scrambled up behind; where, having righted himself, and nodded to the guard, with “How do, Jem?” he turned short round to Tom, and, after looking him over for a minute, began—

“I say, you fellow, is your name Brown?”

“Yes,” said Tom, in considerable astonishment, glad however to have lighted on some one already who seemed to know him.

“Ah, I thought so: you know my old aunt, Miss East, she lives somewhere down your way in Berkshire. She wrote to me that you were coming to-day, and asked me to give you a lift.”

Tom was somewhat inclined to resent the patronizing air of his new friend, a boy of just about his own height and age, but gifted with the most transcendent coolness and assurance, which Tom felt to be aggravating and hard to bear, but couldn’t for the life of him help admiring and envying—especially when young my lord begins hectoring two or three long loafing fellows, half porter, half stable-man, with a strong touch of the blackguard; and in the end arranges with one of them, nicknamed Cooey, to carry Tom’s luggage up to the School-house for sixpence.

“And hark ’ee, Cooey, it must be up in ten minutes, or no more jobs from me. Come along, Brown.” And away swaggers the young potentate, with his hands in his pockets, and Tom at his side.

“All right, sir,” says Cooey, touching his hat, with a leer and a wink at his companions.

“Hullo tho’,” says East, pulling up, and taking another look at Tom, “this’ll never do—haven’t you got a hat?—we never wear caps here. Only the louts wear caps. Bless you, if you were to go into the quadrangle with that thing on, I—don’t know what’d happen.” The very idea was quite beyond young Master East, and he looked unutterable things.

Tom thought his cap a very knowing affair, but confessed that he had a hat in his hat-box; which was accordingly at once extracted from the hind boot, and Tom equipped in his go-to-meeting roof, as his new friend called it. But this didn’t quite suit his fastidious taste in another minute, being too shiny; so, as they walk up the town, they dive into Nixon’s the hatter’s, and Tom is arrayed, to his utter astonishment,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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