Chapter 10THE Careys made up their minds to send Philip to King's School at Tercanbury. The neighbouring clergy sent their sons there. It was united by long tradition to the Cathedral: its headmaster was an honorary Canon, and a past headmaster was the Archdeacon. Boys were encouraged there to aspire to Holy Orders, and the education was such as might prepare an honest lad to spend his life in God's service. A preparatory school was attached to it, and to this it was arranged that Philip should go. Mr. Carey took him into Tercanbury one Thursday afternoon towards the end of September. All day Philip had been excited and rather frightened. He knew little of school life but what he had read in the stories of The Boy's Own Paper. He had also read Eric, orLittle by Little.
When they got out of the train at Tercanbury, Philip felt sick with apprehension, and during the drive in to the town sat pale and silent. The high brick wall in front of the school gave it the look of a prison. There was a little door in it, which opened on their ringing; and a clumsy, untidy man came out and fetched Philip's tin trunk and his play-box. They were shown into the drawing-room; it was filled with massive, ugly furniture, and the chairs of the suite were placed round the walls with a forbidding rigidity. They waited for the headmaster.
"What's Mr. Watson like?" asked Philip, after a while.
"You'll see for yourself."
There was another pause. Mr. Carey wondered why the headmaster did not come. Presently Philip made an effort and spoke again.
"Tell him I've got a club-foot," he said.
Before Mr. Carey could speak the door burst open and Mr. Watson swept into the room. To Philip he seemed gigantic. He was a man of over six feet high, and broad, with enormous hands and a great red beard; he talked loudly in a Jovial manner; but his aggressive cheerfulness struck terror in Philip's heart. He shook hands with Mr. Carey, and then took Philip's small hand in his.
"Well, young fellow, are you glad to come to school?" he shouted.
Philip reddened and found no word to answer.
"How old are you?"
"Nine," said Philip.
"You must say sir," said his uncle.
"I expect you've got a good lot to learn," the headmaster bellowed cheerily.
To give the boy confidence he began to tickle him with rough fingers. Philip, feeling shy and uncomfortable, squirmed under his touch.
"I've put him in the small dormitory for the present.... You'll like that, won't you?" he added to Philip. "Only eight of you in there. You won't feel so strange."
Then the door opened, and Mrs. Watson came in. She was a dark woman with black hair, neatly parted in the middle. She had curiously thick lips and a small round nose. Her eyes were large and black. There was a singular coldness in her appearance. She seldom spoke and smiled more seldom still. Her husband introduced Mr. Carey to her, and then gave Philip a friendly push towards her.
"This is a new boy, Helen, His name's Carey."
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