After The Match

“—Some food we had.”—Shakspere.
  hV potoV aduV.

—Theocr. Id.

The Fives’ Court

As the boys scattered away from the ground, and East, leaning on Tom’s arm, and limping along, was beginning to consider what luxury they should go and buy for tea to celebrate that glorious victory, the two Brookes came striding by. Old Brooke caught sight of East, and stopped; put his hand kindly on his shoulder and said, “Bravo, youngster, you played famously; not much the matter, I hope?”

“No, nothing at all,” said East, “only a little twist from that charge.”

“Well, mind and get all right for next Saturday;” and the leader passed on, leaving East better for those few words than all the opodeldoc in England would have made him, and Tom ready to give one of his ears for as much notice. Ah! light words of those whom we love and honour, what a power ye are, and how carelessly wielded by those who can use you! Surely for these things also God will ask an account.

“Tea’s directly after locking-up, you see,” said East, hobbling along as fast as he could, “so you come along down to Sally Harrowell’s; that’s our School-house tuckshop—she bakes such stunning murphies, we’ll have a penn’orth each for tea; come along, or they’ll all be gone.”

Tom’s new purse and money burnt in his pocket; he wondered, as they toddled through the quadrangle and along the street, whether East would be insulted if he suggested further extravagance, as he had not sufficient faith in a pennyworth of potatoes. At last he blurted out,—

“I say, East, can’t we get something else besides potatoes? I’ve got lots of money, you know.”

“Bless us, yes, I forgot,” said East, “you’ve only just come. You see all my tin’s been gone this twelve weeks, it hardly ever lasts beyond the first fortnight; and our allowances were all stopped this morning for broken windows, so I haven’t got a penny. I’ve got a tick at Sally’s, of course; but then I hate running it high, you see, towards the end of the half, ’cause one has to shell out for it all directly one comes back, and that’s a bore.”

Tom didn’t understand much of this talk, but seized on the fact that East had no money, and was denying himself some little pet luxury in consequence. “Well, what shall I buy?” said he; “I’m uncommon hungry.”

“I say,” said East, stopping to look at him and rest his leg, “you’re a trump, Brown. I’ll do the same by you next half. Let’s have a pound of sausages then; that’s the best grub for tea I know of.”

“Very well,” said Tom, as pleased as possible; “where do they sell them?”

“Oh, over here, just opposite;” and they crossed the street and walked into the cleanest little front room of a small house, half parlour, half shop, and bought a pound of most particular sausages; East talking pleasantly to Mrs. Porter while she put them in paper, and Tom doing the paying part.

Waiting for Roast Potatoes in Sally Harrowell’s Kitchen

From Porter’s they adjourned to Sally Harrowell’s, where they found a lot of school-house boys waiting for the roast potatoes, and relating their own exploits in the day’s match at the top of their voices. The street opened at once into Sally’s kitchen, a low brick-floored room, with large recess for fire, and chimney- corner seats. Poor little Sally, the most good-natured and much-enduring of womankind, was bustling about, with a napkin in her hand, from her own oven to those of the neighbours’ cottages up the yard at the back of the house. Stumps, her husband, a short easy-going shoemaker, with a beery humorous eye and ponderous calves, who lived mostly on his wife’s earnings, stood in a corner of the room, exchanging shots of the roughest description of repartee with every boy in turn. “Stumps, you lout, you’ve had too

  By PanEris using Melati.

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