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Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works,

Frome, and London.


I HONESTLY confess at the outset that this book has a purpose beyond that of raising a laugh over the peculiar mishaps of the hero. Nay more, my purpose is one which may be considered as worn somewhat threadbare in fiction. Here follows a story of a good old-fashioned kind, yet adapted to certain conditions of the present day; and though I trust that my characters will prove more amusing than Master Tommy Merton or Master Henry Milner, I know of some young masters and misses who would be none the worse of giving serious consideration to a fault which we moralizing authors have had to find from time immemorial.

It is to be hoped that few readers of these pages will require to be told from what author I have borrowed all their head lines : “A poor humour of mine, sir."

A. R. H.

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“They will kill one another by the look, like cockatrices”

Twelfth Night,

JAMES GEOFFREY BARNARD SHAW was undoubtedly a nice-looking and clever young gentleman, who, as his fond mother fully believed and frequently reminded him, should by no means be counted among the general mass of human beings. His father was the Honourable Frederick Shaw, second son of the late Lord Foulis, and Judge of the W— County Court. Master Geoffrey, as he was usually called at home, was, moreover, the Benjamin of the family; his brothers were considerably older than him


self and had gone out into the world ; thus he, his mother's favourite, ran great chance of being spoiled, and it is not surprising that he thought a good deal of himself.

So you might have understood, if you had seen him one Wednesday afternoon, going to play football with his school-fellows of the town. Smartly dressed in the School Club uniform, purple jersey and stockings and white flannel knickerbockers, only half concealed under his great coat, it was but natural that the nursery-maids and children should turn round to stare at him, as Geoffrey, not unconscious of this becoming admiration, took his way leisurely along the road, stepping carefully over the puddles and holding his head erect as beseemed a person of such consideration, till he arrived at the gate of the field where the game was to be played.

But here a slight obstacle to his entrance presented itself, or himself rather ; for the obstacle was a boy stolidly perched up on the top of the gate, and all eyes for the assembled players who dotted the field in their gay dresses. . This was a boy of a very different order from Geoffrey Shaw: a coarse, heavy-looking boy with

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