The Rising Generation

The lull that prevailed in the breakfast-room on Miss Howard’s return from the window was speedily interrupted by fresh arrivals before the door. The three Master Baskets in coats and lay-over collars, Master Shutter in a jacket and trousers, the two Master Bulgeys in woollen overalls with very large hunting whips, Master Brick in a velveteen shooting-jacket, and the two Cheeks with their tweed trousers thrust into fiddle-case boots, on all sorts of ponies and family horses, began pawing and disordering the gravel in front of Nonsuch House.

George Cheek was the head boy at Mr Latherington’s classical and commercial academy, at Flagellation Hall (late the Crown and Sceptre Hotel and Posting House, on the Bankstone Road), where, for forty pounds a year, eighty young gentlemen were fitted for the pulpit, the senate, the bar, the counting-house, or anything else their fond parents fancied them fit for.

George was a tall stripling, out at the elbows, in at the knees, with his red knuckled hands thrust a long way through his tight coat. He was just of that awkward age when boys fancy themselves men, and men are not prepared to lower themselves to their level. Ladies get on better with them than men: either the ladies are more tolerant of twaddle, or their discerning eyes see in the gawky youth the germ of future usefulness. George was on capital terms with himself. He was the oracle of Mr Latherington’s school, where he was not only head boy and head swell, but a considerable authority on sporting matters. He took in Bell’s Life, which he read from beginning to end, and ‘noted its contents,’ as they say in the city.

‘I’ll tell you what all these little (hiccup) animals will be wanting,’ observed Sir Harry, as he cayenne- peppered a turkey’s leg; ‘they’ll be come for a (hiccup) hunt.’

‘Wish they may get it,’ observed Captain Seedeybuck; adding, ‘Why, the ground’s as hard as iron.’

‘There’s a big boy,’ observed Miss Howard, eyeing George Cheek through the window.

‘Let’s have him in, and see what he’s got to say for himself,’ said Miss Glitters.

You ask him, then,’ rejoined Miss Howard, who didn’t care to risk another rub.

‘Peter,’ said Lady Scattercash to the footman, who had been loitering about, listening to the conversation -- ‘Peter, go and ask that tall boy with the blue neckerchief and the riband round his hat to come in.’

‘Yes, my lady,’ replied Peter.

‘And the (hiccup) Spooneys, and the (hiccup) Bulgeys, and the (hiccup) Raws, and all the little (hiccup) rascals,’ added Sir Harry.

‘The Raws won’t come, Sir H.,’ observed Miss Howard, soberly.

‘Bigger fools they,’ replied Sir Harry.

Presently Peter returned with a tail, headed by George Cheek who came striding and slouching up the room, and stuck himself down on Lady Scattercash’s right. The small boys squeezed themselves in as they could, one by Captain Seedeybuck, another by Captain Bouncey, one by Miss Glitters, a fourth by Miss Howard, and so on. They all fell ravenously upon the provisions.

Gobble, gobble, gobble, was the order of the day.

‘Well, and how often have you been flogged this half?’ asked Lady Scattercash of George Cheek, as she gave him a cup of coffee.

Her ladyship hadn’t much liking for youths of his age, and would just as soon vex them as not.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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