The Daisy Chain or Aspirations
O ruthful scene! when from a nook obscure,
His little sister doth his peril see,
All playful as she sate, she grows demure,
She finds full soon her wonted spirits flee,
She meditates a prayer to set him free.
The setting sun shone into the great west window of the school at
Stoneborough, on its bare walls, the masters' desks, the forms polished with
use, and the square, inky, hacked and hewed chests, carved with the names
of many generations of boys.
About six or eight little boys were clearing away the books or papers that
they, or those who owned them as fags, had left astray, and a good deal of
talk and laughing was going on among them. "Ha!" exclaimed one, "here has
Harrison left his book behind him that he was showing us the gladiators in!"
and, standing by the third master's desk, he turned over a page or two of
Smith's 'Antiquities', exclaiming, "It is full of pictures--here's an old man
blowing the bellows--"
"Let me see!" cried Tom May, precipitating himself across the benches and
over the desk, with so little caution, that there was an outcry; and, to his
horror, he beheld the ink spilled over Mr. Harrison's book, while, "There,
August! you've been and done it!" "You'll catch it!" resounded on all sides.
"What good will staring with your mouth open do!" exclaimed Edward
Anderson, the eldest present. "Here! a bit of blotting-paper this moment!"
Tom, dreadfully frightened, handed a sheet torn from an old paper- case that
he had inherited from Harry, saying despairingly, "It won't take it out, will it?"
"No, little stupid head, but don't you see, I'm stopping it from running down
the edges, or soaking in. He won't be the wiser till he opens it again at that
"When he does, he will," said the bewildered Tom.
"Let him. It won't tell tales."
"He's coming!" cried another boy, "he is close at the door."
Anderson hastily shut the book over the blotting-paper, which he did not
venture to retain in his hand, dragged Tom down from the desk, and was
apparently entirely occupied with arranging his own box, when Mr. Harrison
came in. Tom crouched behind the raised lid, quaking in every limb, conscious