Without a word she shook hands with Philip and then sat down, not speaking, while the headmaster asked Mr. Carey how much Philip knew and what books he had been working with. The Vicar of Blackstable was a little embarrassed by Mr. Watson's boisterous heartiness, and in a moment or two got up.
"I think I'd better leave Philip with you now."
"That's all right," said Mr. Watson. "He'll be safe with me. He'll get on like a house on fire. Won't you, young fellow?"
Without waiting for an answer from Philip the big man burst into a great bellow of laughter. Mr. Carey kissed Philip on the forehead and went away.
"Come along, young fellow," shouted Mr. Watson. "I'll show you the school-room."
He swept out of the drawing-room with giant strides, and Philip hurriedly limped behind him. He was taken into a long, bare room with two tables that ran along its whole length; on each side of them were wooden forms.
"Nobody much here yet," said Mr. Watson. "I'll Just show you the playground, and then I'll leave you to shift for yourself."
Mr. Watson led the way. Philip found himself in a large play-ground with high brick walls on three sides of it. On the fourth side was an iron railing through which you saw a vast lawn and beyond this some of the buildings of King's School. One small boy was wandering disconsolately, kicking up the gravel as he walked.
"Hulloa, Venning," shouted Mr. Watson. "When did you turn up?"
The small boy came forward and shook hands.
"Here's a new boy. He's older and bigger than you, so don't you bully him."
The headmaster glared amicably at the two children, filling them with fear by the roar of his voice, and then with a guffaw left them.
"What's your name?"
"What's your father?"
"Oh! Does your mother wash?"
"My mothers dead, too."
Philip thought this answer would cause the boy a certain awkwardness, but Venning was not to be turned from his facetiousness for so little.
"Well, did she wash?" he went on.
"Yes," said Philip indignantly.
"She was a washerwoman then?"
"No, she wasn't."
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|