Arthur makes a Friend

“Let Nature be your teacher:
  Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
  Our meddling intellect
  Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things.
  We murder to dissect—
  Enough of Science and of Art;
  Close up those barren leaves;
  Come forth, and bring with you a heart
  That watches and receives.”


Fall of the Magpies

About six weeks after the beginning of the half, as Tom and Arthur were sitting one night before supper beginning their verses, Arthur suddenly stopped, and looked up, and said, “Tom, do you know anything of Martin?”

“Yes,” said Tom, taking his hand out of his back hair, and delighted to throw his Gradus ad Parnassum on to the sofa; “I know him pretty well. He’s a very good fellow, but as mad as a hatter. He’s called Madman, you know. And never was such a fellow for getting all sorts of rum things about him. He tamed two snakes last half, and used to carry them about in his pocket, and I’ll be bound he’s got some hedgehogs and rats in his cupboard now, and no one knows what besides.”

“I should like very much to know him,” said Arthur; “he was next to me in the form to-day, and he’d lost his book and looked over mine, and he seemed so kind and gentle, that I liked him very much.”

“Ah, poor old Madman, he’s always losing his books,” said Tom, “and getting called up and floored because he hasn’t got them.”

“I like him all the better,” said Arthur.

“Well, he’s great fun, I can tell you,” said Tom, throwing himself back on the sofa, and chuckling at the remembrance. “We had such a game with him one day last half. He had been kicking up horrid stinks for some time in his study, till I suppose some fellow told Mary, and she told the doctor. Anyhow, one day a little before dinner, when he came down from the library, the Doctor, instead of going home, came striding into the hall. East and I and five or six other fellows were at the fire, and preciously we stared, for he don’t come in like that once a year, unless it is a wet day and there’s a fight in the hall. ‘East,’ says he, ‘just come and show me Martin’s study.’ ‘Oh, here’s a game,’ whispered the rest of us, and we all cut up-stairs after the Doctor, East leading. As we got into the New Row, which was hardly wide enough to hold the Doctor and his gown, click, click, click, we heard in the old Madman’s den. Then that stopped all of a sudden, and the bolts went to like fun; the Madman knew East’s step, and thought there was going to be a siege.

“ ‘It’s the Doctor, Martin. He’s here and wants to see you,’ sings out East.

“Then the bolts went back slowly, and the door opened, and there was the old Madman standing, looking precious scared; his jacket off, his shirt-sleeves up to his elbows, and his long skinny arms all covered with anchors and arrows and letters, tattooed in with gunpowder like a sailor-boy’s, and a stink fit to knock you down coming out. ’Twas all the Doctor could do to stand his ground, and East and I, who were looking in under his arms, held our noses tight. The old magpie was standing on the window-sill, all his feathers drooping, and looking disgusted and half-poisoned.

“ ‘What can you be about, Martin?’ says the Doctor; ‘you really mustn’t go on in this way—you’re a nuisance to the whole passage.’

Martin’s Blow-up

“ ‘Please, sir, I was only mixing up this powder, there isn’t any harm in it;’ and the Madman seized nervously on his pestle-and-mortar, to show the Doctor the harmlessness of his pursuits, and went on pounding; click, click, click; he hadn’t given six clicks before, puff! up went the whole into a great blaze, away went the

  By PanEris using Melati.

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