and without paying for it, in a regulation cat-skin at seven-and-sixpence: Nixon undertaking to send the best hat up to the matron’s room, School-house, in half an hour.

“You can send in a note for a tile on Monday, and make it all right, you know,” said Mentor; “we’re allowed two seven-and-sixers a half, besides what we bring from home.”

Tom by this time began to be conscious of his new social position and dignities, and to luxuriate in the realized ambition of being a public school-boy at last, with a vested right of spoiling two seven-and-sixers in half a year.

“You see,” said his friend, as they strolled up towards the school-gates, in explanation of his conduct, “a great deal depends on how a fellow cuts up at first. If he’s got nothing odd about him, and answers straightforward, and holds his head up, he gets on. Now you’ll do very well as to rig, all but that cap. You see I’m doing the handsome thing by you, because my father knows yours; besides, I want to please the old lady. She gave me half-a-sov. this half, and perhaps’ll double it next, if I keep in her good books.”

There’s nothing like candour for a lower-school boy, and East was a genuine specimen—frank, hearty, and good-natured, well satisfied with himself and his position, and chock full of life and spirits, and all the Rugby prejudices and traditions which he had been able to get together, in the long course of one half year during which he had been at the School-house.

And Tom, notwithstanding his bumptiousness, felt friends with him at once, and began sucking in all his ways and prejudices, as fast as he could understand them.

East was great in the character of cicerone; he carried Tom through the great gates, where were only two or three boys. These satisfied themselves with the stock questions,—“You fellow, what’s your name? Where do you come from? How old are you? Where do you board? and, What form are you in?”—and so they passed on through the quadrangle and a small courtyard, upon which looked down a lot of little windows (belonging, as his guide informed him, to some of the School-house studies), into the matron’s room, where East introduced Tom to that dignitary; made him give up the key of his trunk, that the matron might unpack his linen, and told the story of the hat and of his own presence of mind: upon the relation whereof the matron laughingly scolded him, for the coolest new boy in the house; and East, indignant at the accusation of newness, marched Tom off into the quadrangle, and began showing him the schools, and examining him as to his literary attainments; the result of which was a prophecy that they would be in the same form, and could do their lessons together.

“And now come in and see my study; we shall have just time before dinner; and afterwards, before calling over, we’ll do the close.”

Tom followed his guide through the School-house hall, which opens into the quadrangle. It is a great room thirty feet long and eighteen high, or thereabouts, with two great tables running the whole length, and two large fire-places at the side, with blazing fires in them, at one of which some dozen boys were standing and lounging, some of whom shouted to East to stop; but he shot through with his convoy, and landed him in the long dark passages, with a large fire at the end of each, upon which the studies opened. Into one of these, in the bottom passage, East bolted with our hero, slamming and bolting the door behind them, in case of pursuit from the hall, and Tom was for the first time in a Rugby boy’s citadel.

He hadn’t been prepared for separate studies, and was not a little astonished and delighted with the palace in question.

It wasn’t very large certainly, being about six feet long by four broad. It couldn’t be called light, as there were bars and a grating to the window; which little precautions were necessary in the studies on the ground-floor looking out into the close, to prevent the exit of small boys after locking up, and the entrance of contraband articles. But it was uncommonly comfortable to look at, Tom thought. The space under the window at the further end was occupied by a square table covered with a reasonably clean and

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