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THE BOYHOOD OF WALTER

SCOTT.

PART II.

1. BY-AND-BY Walter Scott's friends thought it was time he went to school, he was growing so much stronger, though not well of his lameness ; in fact, I believe that all his life he walked with a stick. So to school he went, I dare say with many misgivings. He might have wondered whether the boys would make fun of his lameness. Perhaps he wondered what he should do with himself while they were running, and leaping, and playing all sorts of rough-and-tumble plays out of doors, and out of school hours. No doubt he dreaded, as do all children, the first day at a new school. I dare say he wondered whether the education he had picked up by bits, and as his lame leg would let him, would pass muster at a big boys' school, or whether he would be called a 'dunce' as well as ‘lame.'

2. I suppose his grandfather, and his uncle Robert, and his aunt Janet all felt anxious too; but, as it turned out, there was no great occasion for it, for after he got there he seemed perfectly able to manage his own little affairs. In the first place, knowing that he couldn't join in the rough games of the playground, and not liking, of course, to be left in a corner alone, he commenced telling

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such wonderful tales and stories, that the boys were glad to crowd round him and listen; and they were worth listening to, else the boys would not have stayed to hear them. How they would have stared had they been told that this lame boy was destined to become very famous by the stories he should write!

3. Ah! boys don't know what famous men they may be sharing their apples and cake with in the playground. They don't know what big men they may become themselves, only by being the boyhood's friend of some great man.

How his future biographer' will hunt them out, and catechise? them about the colour of his hair and eyes, and the shape of his finger-nails, and what he said, and did, and ate, and drank, and what he liked, and what he did not like! and it is very well they do not know all this, because it would spoil their present fun and freedom altogether.

4. Well, like other boys, Walter was sometimes at the top and sometimes at the bottom of his class. On one occasion he made a sudden leap to the top. The master asked the boys, ' Is with ever a noun ?? All were silent, until the question reached Walter, nearly at the bottom of the class, who instantly replied by quoting from the Book of Judges, And Samson said unto Delilah, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. The other boys twiddled

· Biographer, one who writes the story of a person's life. : Catechise, propose questions to.

their thumbs and looked foolish, and he went to the top. I do not suppose his mother thought, when she read him the Bible, of his laying that text on the shelf of his memory, to be brought forth in that queer way.

5. But a smart answer does not stand a boy in the place of hard study, as you may have found out if you ever tried it; so Master Walter found himself at the bottom of the class again one fine day. This did not suit the young man; and what suited him less was the fact that the boy who was at the head seemed to mean to stay there. Day after day passed, and nobody could get his place. Walter pondered deeply how he should manage.

He looked sharply at him, to see if he could not accomplish by stratagem' what he could not gain fairly. At length he observed that when a question was asked this boy always fumbled with his fingers at a particular button on the lower part of his waistcoat.

6. If Walter could only succecd in cutting off that button! He watched his chance-knife in hand, When that boy was again questioned, he felt, as usual, for the friendly button. It was gone. He looked down for it, but it was no more to be seen than to be felt. He became confused, stuttered-he stammered-he missed his lesson ; and Walter took his place. But I can tell you he was not happy about it; for he says he never passed that boy but his heart smote him for it, though the top boy never knew who his sson button.

Stratagem, an artful plan.

7. Scott says he often promised himself to make some amends for the boyish injury he did him ; but he never did. He also says that when this boy grew to be a young man, he became a drunkard, and died early. That was a pity, though I do not suppose that button had anything to do with his sad end. Still, Scott always wished that he had not been unkind to the poor unfortunate fellow.

8. Walter continued to grow stronger and stronger, so that his limb, though it disfigured him, did not disable him. He had not been taunted with it in his childhood, he had always been very kindly cared for and tenderly nursed.

9. When Walter grew to be a fine young man, he was very fond of strolling off to see beautiful scenery, and when he once began these journeys, he never knew how fast time was passing, how far he had gone, and when and where to stop.

10. Not knowing how to draw pictures with his pencil of the places he visited (he did not know then how beautifully his pen would do it some day), he resolved to cut a branch from a tree from every place which particularly pleased him, and label it with the name of the spot where it grew, and afterwards have a set of chessmen made out of the wood, as he was then very fond of this game.

11. This idea of Walter's was a very pretty one, though he never carried it into execution. Walter's mother was very anxious that he should learn music; but he declares he had neither voice nor ear for it. He says that when the attempt was made to instruct him, and the music teacher came to give him lessons, a lady who lived in their neighbourhood sent in to beg 'that the children in that house might not all be flogged at the same hour, because, though doubtless they all deserved it, the noise they made was really dreadful !'

12. Walter's mother appears to have been a very intelligent, kind-hearted, well-educated woman. She died before Walter came to be the “Great Unknown'l whom everybody was wondering about. But, after all, what matters it so far as she was concerned ? since it is love, not greatness, for which a mother's heart hungers; and Walter loved his mother dearly.

13. After her death, among her papers was found a weak boyish scrawl, with pencil marks still visible, of a translation in verse, from Horace and Virgil, by 'her dear boy Walter. I said, just now, what mattered it to her that he was famous ? little, truly, so that he loved her; and yet, for him, for any one to whom the world's praises have come, it is of the loved dead that they then think!

14. With all his glory, with all his troops of friends, seen and unscen, I doubt if he was ever so happy as he was when he lay at her feet, wrapped in the warm sheepskin. When you read his books you will remember all these little stories that I have

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1 The Great Unknown.' When Scott first began to write novels, he kept his name secret.

2 Horace and Virgil, Latin poets,

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