The Daisy Chain or Aspirations HTML version

Chapter I.11
One thing is wanting in the beamy cup
Of my young life! one thing to be poured in;
Ay, and one thing is wanting to fill up
The measure of proud joy, and make it sin.--F. W. F.
Hopes that Dr. May would ever have his mind free, seemed as fallacious as
mamma's old promise to Margaret, to make doll's clothes for her whenever
there should be no live dolls to be worked for in the nursery.
Richard and Ethel themselves had their thoughts otherwise engrossed. The
last week before the holidays was an important one. There was an
examination, by which the standing of the boys in the school was determined,
and this time it was of more than ordinary importance, as the Randall
scholarship of ฃ100 a year for three years would be open in the summer to
the competition of the first six boys. Richard had never come within six of the
top, but had been past at every examination by younger boys, till his father
could bear it no longer; and now Norman was too young to be likely to have
much chance of being of the number. There were eight decidedly his seniors,
and Harvey Anderson, a small, quick-witted boy, half a year older, who had
entered school at the same time, and had always been one step below him,
had, in the last three months, gained fast upon him.
Harry, however, meant Norman to be one of the six, and declared all the
fellows thought he would be, except Andersen's party. Mr. Wilmot, in a call on
Ethel and Flora, told them that he thought their brother had a fair chance, but
he feared he was over-working himself, and should tell the doctor so,
whenever he could catch him; but this was difficult, as there was a great deal
of illness just then, and he was less at home than usual.
All this excited the home party, but Norman only seemed annoyed by talk
about it, and though always with a book in his hand, was so dreamy and
listless, that Flora declared that there was no fear of his doing too much--she
thought he would fail for want of trying.
"I mean to try," said Norman; "say no more about it, pray."
The great day was the 20th of December, and Ethel ran out, as the boys went
to school, to judge of Norman's looks, which were not promising. "No
wonder," said Harry, since he had stayed up doing Euripides and Cicero the
whole length of a candle that had been new at bedtime. "But never mind,
Ethel, if he only beats Anderson, I don't care for anything else."
"Oh, it will be unbearable if he does not! Do try, Norman, dear."
"Never you mind."