him, and politely gave him his crutch. He might have
thrown it to him and gone on, but he had a horror of
rudeness, and handed it to him with a bow. Just as he re-
gained his perpendicular, the crutch descended on his head,
and laid him flat on the ground. There the tyrant bela-
boured him. Tommy stood and regarded the proceeding.
CLARE BECOMES A GUARDIAN OF THE POOR. JLUI
" The cove's older an' bigger an' pluckier than me," he
said to himself; "but he's an ass. He'll come to grief
unless he's looked after. He'll be hanged else. He
don't know how to dodge. I'll have to take him in
When he saw Clare free, an event to which he had
contributed nothing, he turned and ran home.
Simpson redoubled now his persecution of Clare, and
persecuted Tommy because of Clare. He lurked for
Tommy now, and when he caught him, tormented him
with choice tortures. In a word, he made his life miser-
able. After every such mischance Tommy would hurry
to the farm, and lie about in the hope of a sight of Clare,
or possibly a chance of speaking to him. His repute was
so bad that he dared not show himself.
Hot tears would come into Clare's eyes as he listened
to the not always unembellished tale of Tommy's suffer-
ings at the hands of Simpson; but he never thought
of revenge, only of protection or escape for the boy. It
comforted him to believe that he was growing, and would
soon be a match for the oppressor.
Whether at this time he felt any great interest in life,
or recognized any personal advantage in growing, I doubt.
But he had the friendship of the animals; and it is not
surprising that creatures their maker thinks worth
making and keeping alive, should yield consolation to
one that understands them, or even nil with a mild joy
the pauses of labour in an irksome life.
Then each new day was an old friend to the boy.
Each time the sun rose, new hope rose with him in his
heart. He came every morning fresh from home, with a
fresh promise. The boy read the promise in his great
102 A ROUGH SHAKING.
shining, and believed it; gazed and rejoiced, and turned
to his work.
But the hour arrived when his mistress could bear his
presence no longer. Some petty loss, I imagine, had
befallen her. Nothing touched her like the loss of money
the love of which is as dread a passion as the love of
drink, and more ruinous to the finer elements of the
nature. It was like the tearing out of her heart to Mrs.
Goodenough to lose a shilling. Her self-command forsook
her, perhaps, in some such moment of vexation ; anyhow,
she opened the sluices of her hate, and overwhelmed him
with it in the presence of her husband.
The farmer knew she was unfair, knew the orphan a
good boy and a diligent, knew there was nothing against
him but the antipathy of his wife. But, annoyed with
her injustice, he was powerless to change her heart.
Since the boy came to live with them, he had had no pleas-
ure in his wife's society. She had always been moody
and dissatisfied, but since then had been unbearable.
Constantly irritated with and by her because of Clare, he
had begun to regard him as the destroyer of his peace,
and to feel a grudge against him. He sat smouldering
with bodiless rage, and said nothing.
Clare too was silent, for what could he say? Where
is the wisdom that can answer hatred? He carried to his
friend Jonathan a heart heavy and perplexed.
" Why does she hate me so, Jonathan ? " he murmured.
The big horse kissed his head all over, but made him
no other answer.
CLARE THE VAGABOND. 103
CLARE THE VAGABOND.
next morning Clare happened to do something
_L not altogether to the farmer's mind. It was a
matter of no consequence only cleaning that side of
one of the cow-houses first which was usually cleaned
last. He gave him a box on the ear that made him
stagger, and then stand bewildered.
" What do you mean by staring that way ? " cried the
farmer, annoyed with himself and seeking justification
in his own eyes. " Am I not to box your ears when I
choose?" And with that he gave him another blow.
Then first it dawned on Clare that he was not wanted,
that he was no good to anybody. He threw down his
scraper, and ran from the cow-house; ran straight from
the farm to the lane, and from the lane to the high road.
Buffets from the hand of his only friend, and the sudden
sense of loneliness they caused, for the moment bereft
Clare of purpose. It was as if his legs had run away
with him, and he had unconsciously submitted to their
At the mouth of the lane, where it opened on the
high road, he ran against Tommy turning the corner,
eager to find him. The eyes of the small human monkey
were swollen with weeping; his nose was bleeding, and
in size and shape scarce recognizable as a nose. At the
sight, the consciousness of his protectorate awoke in
Clare, and he stopped, unable to speak, but not unable to
listen. Tommy blubbered out a confused, half -inarticulate
104 A ROUGH SHAKING.
something about "granny and the other devil," who
between them had all but killed him.
" What can I do ? " said Clare, his heart sinking with
the sense of having no help in him.
Tommy was ready to answer the question. He had
been hatching vengeance all the way. Eagerly came his
proposition that they should, in their turn, lie in ambush
for Simpson, and knock his crutch from under him. That
done, Clare should belabour him with it, while he ran
like the wind and set his grandmother's house on fire.
" She'll be drunk in bed, an' she'll be burned to death ! "
cried Tommy. "Then we'll mizzle!"
" But it would hurt them both very badly, Tommy ! "
said Clare, as if unfolding the reality of the thing to a
"Well! all right! the worse the better! 'Ain't they
hurt us?" rejoined Tommy.
"That's how we know it's not nice!" answered Clare.
" If they set it a going, we ain't to keep it a going ! "
" Then they'll be at it for ever," cried Tommy, " an' I'm
sick of it! I'll kill granny! I swear I will, if I'm
hanged for it! She's said a hundred times she'd pull my
legs when I was hanged; but she won't be at the hanging!"
" Why shouldn't you run for it first ? " said Clare.
" Then they wouldn't want to hang you ! "
"Then I shouldn't have nobody!" replied Tommy,
"I should have thought Nobody was as good as granny ! "
"A big bilin' better!" answered Tommy bitterly. "I
wasn't meanin' granny nor yet stumpin' Simpson."
" I don't know what you're driving at," said Clare.
CLARE THE VAGABOND. 105
Tommy burst into tears.
"Ain't you the only one I got, up or down?" he cried.
Tommy had a little bit of heart not much, but
enough to have a chance of growing. If ever creature
had less than that, he was not human. I do not think
he could even be an ape.
Some of the people about the parson used to think
Clare had no heart, and Mrs. Goodenough was sure of it.
He had not a spark of gratitude, she said. But the cause
of this opinion was that Clare's affection took the shape
of deeds far more than of words. Never were judges of
their neighbours more mistaken. The chief difference
between Clare's history and that of most others was, that
his began at the unusual end. Clare began with loving
everybody; and most people take a long time to grow to
that. Hence, those whom, from being brought nearest to
them, he loved specially, he loved without that outbreak
of show which is often found in persons who love but a
few, and whose love is defiled with partisanship. He
loved quietly and constantly, in a fashion as active as
undemonstrative. He was always glad to be near those
he specially loved; beyond that, the signs of his love were
practical it came out in ministration, in doing things
for them. There are those who, without loving, desire to
be loved, because they love themselves; for those that
are worth least are most precious to themselves. But
Clare never thought of the love of others to him from
no heartlessness, but that he did not think about himself
had never done so, at least, until the moment when he
fled from the farm with the new agony in his heart that
nobody wanted him, that everybody would be happier
without him. Happy is he that does not think of him-
106 A ROUGH SHAKING.
self before the hour when he becomes conscious of the bliss
of being loved. For it must be and ought to be a happy
moment when one learns that another human creature
loves him ; and not to be grateful for love is to be deeply
selfish. Clare had always loved, but had not thought of
any one as loving him, or of himself as being loved by
"Well," rejoined Clare, struggling with his misery.
" ain't I going myself?"
"You going! That's chaff!"
" 'Tain't chaff. I'm on my way."
"What! Going to hook it? Oh golly! what a lark!
Won't Farmer Goodenough look blue!"
" He'll think himself well rid of me," returned Clare
with a sigh. " But there's no time to talk. If you're
going, Tommy, come along."
He turned to go.
"Where to?" asked Tommy, following.
"I don't know. Anywhere away," answered Clare,
quickening his pace.
In spite of his swollen visage, Tommy's eyes grew
"You 'ain't cribbed nothing?" he said.
" I don't know what you mean."
" You 'ain't stole something ? " interpreted Tommy.
Clare stopped, and for the first time on his own part,
lifted his hand to strike. It dropped immediately by his
" No, you poor Tommy," he said. " I don't steal."
"Thought you didn't! What are you running away
" Because they don't want me."
THEIR FIRST HELPER. 107
"Lord! what will you do?"
Tommy held his tongue: he knew a better way than
that! If work was the only road to eating, things would
go badly with him! But he thought he knew a thing
or two, and would take his chance! There were degrees
of hunger that were not so bad as the thrashings he got,
for in his granny's hands the rope might fall where it
would; while all cripple Simpson cared for was to make
him squeal satisfactorily. But work was worse than all !
He would go with Clare, but not to work ! Not he !
Clare kept on in silence, never turning his head out
into the untried, unknown, mysterious world, which lay
around the one spot he knew as the darkness lies about
the flame of the candle. They walked more than a mile
before either spoke.
THEIR FIRST HELPER.
IT was a lovely spring morning. The sun was about
thirty degrees above the horizon, shining with a liquid
radiance, as if he had already drawn up and was shining
through the dew of the morning, though it lay yet on all
the grasses by the roadside, turning them into gem-
plants. Every sort of gem sparkled on their feathery or
beady tops, and their long slender blades. At the first
cottages they passed, the women were beginning their
day's work, sweeping clean their floors and door-steps.
Clare noted that where were most flowers in the garden,
the windows were brightest, and the children cleanest.
108 A ROUGH SHAKING.
" The flowers come where they make things nice for
them!" he said to himself. "Where the flowers see dirt,
they turn away, and won't come out."
From childhood he had had the notion that the flowers
crept up inside the stalks until they found a window to
look out at. Where the prospect was not to their mind
they crept down, and away by some door in the root to
try again. For all the stalks stood like watch-towers,
ready for them to go up and peep out.
They came to a pond by a farm-house. Clare had been
observing with pity how wretched Tommy's clothes were ;
but when he looked into the pond he saw that his own
shabbiness was worse than Tommy's downright miser-
ableness. Nobody would leave either of them within
reach of anything worth stealing! What he wore had
been his Sunday suit, and it was not even worth
" I'm 'orrid 'ungry," said Tommy. " I 'ain't swallered
a plug this mornin', 'xcep' a lump o' bread out o' granny's
cupboard. That's what I got my weltin' for. It were a
whole half -loaf, though an' none so dry!"
Clare had eaten nothing, and had been up since five
o'clock at work all the time till the farmer struck
him: he was quite as hungry as Tommy. What was to
be done? Besides a pocket-handkerchief he had but one
The very day she was taken ill, he had been in the
store-room with his mother, and she, knowing the pleas-
ure he took in the scent of brown Windsor-soap, had
made him a present of a small cake. This he had kept
in his pocket ever since, wrapt in a piece of rose-coloured
paper, his one cherished possession: hunger deadening
THEIR FIRST HELPER. 109
sorrow, the time was come to bid it farewell. His heart
ached to part with it, but Tommy and he were so hungry !
They went to the door of the house, and knocked
first Clare very gently, then Tommy with determination.
It was opened by a matron who looked at them over the
horizon of her chin.
" Please, ma'am," said Clare, " will you give us a piece
of bread ? as large a piece, please, as you can spare ; and
I will give you this piece of brown Windsor-soap."
As he ended his speech, he took a farewell whiff of his
"Soap!" retorted the dame. "Who wants your soap!
Where did you get it? Stole it, I don't doubt! Show it
She took it in her hand, and held it to her nose.
"Who gave it you?"
" My mother," answered Clare.
"Where's your mother?"
Clare pointed upward.
"Eh? Oh hanged! I thought so!"
She threw the soap into the yard, and closed the door.
Clare darted after his property, pounced upon it, and
restored it lovingly to his pocket.
As they were leaving the yard disconsolate, they saw a
cart full of turnips. Tommy turned and made for it.
" Don't, Tommy," cried Clare.
" Why not? I'm hungry," answered Tommy, " an' you
see it's no use astin'!"
He flew at the cart, but Clare caught and held him.
" They ain't ours, Tommy," he said.
" Then why don't you take one?" retorted Tommy.
" That's why you shouldn't."
110 A ROUGH SHAKING.
" It's why you should, for then it 'ud be yours."
" To take it wouldn't make it ours, Tommy."
"Wouldn't it, though? I believe when I'd eaten it, it
would be mine rather!"
" No, it wouldn't. Think of having in your stomach
what wasn't yours! No, you must pay for it Perhaps
they would take my soap for a turnip. I believe it's
worth two turnips."
He spied a man under a shed, ran to him, and made
offer of the soap for a turnip apiece.
" I don't want your soap," answered the man, " an' I
don't recommend cold turmits of a mornin'. But take
one if you like, and clear out. The master's cart- whip
'ill be about your ears the moment he sees you!"
" Ain't you the master, sir?"
" No, I ain't."
"Then the turnips ain't yours?" said Clare, looking at
him with hungry, regretful eyes, for he could have eaten
a raw potato.
"You're a deal too impudent to be hungry!" said the
man, making a blow at him with his open hand, which
Clare dodged. " Be off' with you, or I'll set the dog on
" I'm very sorry," said Clare. " I did not mean to
" Clear out, I say. Double trot!"
Hungry as the boys were, they must trudge! No
bread, no turnip for them! Nothing but trudge, trudge
till they dropped!
When they had gone about five miles further, they sat
down, as if by common consent, on the roadside; and
Tommy, used to crying, began to cry. Clare did not
THEIR FIRST HOST. Ill
seek to stop him, for some instinct told him it must be a
By and by a working-man came along the road. Clare
hesitated, but Tommy's crying urged him. He rose and
stood ready to accost him. As soon as he came up, how-
ever, the man stopped of himself. He questioned Clare
and listened to his story, then counselled the boys to go
" I'm not wanted, sir," said Clare.
" They'd kill me," said Tommy.
"God help you, boys!" returned the man. "You may
be telling me lies, and you may be telling me the truth!
A liar may be hungry, but somehow I grudge my dinner
to a liar!"
As he spoke he untied the knots of a blue handkerchief
with white spots, gave them its contents of bread and
cheese, wiped his face with it, and put it in his pocket;
lifted his bag of tools, and went his way. He had lost
his dinner and saved his life!
The dinner, being a man's, went a good way toward
satisfying them, though empty corners would not have
been far to seek, had there been anything to put in them.
As it was, they started again refreshed and hopeful.
What had come to them once might reasonably come
THEIR FIRST HOST.
AS the evening drew on, and began to settle down
into night, a new care arose in the mind of the
elder boy. Where were they to pass the darkness?
112 A ROUGH SHAKING.
how find shelter for sleep? It was a question that gave
Tommy no anxiety. He had been on the tramp often,
now with one party, now with another of his granny's
lodgers, and had frequently slept in the open air, or
under the rudest covert. Tommy had not much imagina-
tion to trouble him, and in his present moral condition
was possibly better without it; but to inexperienced
Clare there was something fearful in having the night
come so close to him. Sleep out of doors he had never
thought of. To lie down with the stars looking at him,
nothing but the blue wind between him and them, was like
being naked to the very soul. Doubtless there would be
creatures about, to share the night with him, and protect
him from its awful bareness; but they would be few for
the size of the room, and he might see none of them! It
was the sense of emptiness, the lack of present life that
dismayed him. He had never seen any creatures to
shrink from. He disliked no one of the things that
creep or walk or fly. Before long he did come to know
and dislike at least one sort; and the sea held creatures
that in after years made him shudder; but as yet, not
even rats, so terrible to many, were a terror to Clare. It
was Nothing that he feared.
My reader may say, "But had no one taught him
about God?" Yes, he had heard about God, and about
Jesus Christ; had heard a great deal about them. But
they always seemed persons a long way off. He knew,
or thought he knew, that God was everywhere, but he
had never felt his presence a reality. He seemed in no
place where Clare's eyes ever fell. He never thought, " God
is here." Perhaps the sparrows knew more about God
than he did then. When he looked out into the night it
THEIR FIRST HOST. 113
always seemed vacant, therefore horrid, and he took it
for as empty as it looked. And if there had been no
God there, it would have been reasonable indeed to be
afraid; for the most frightful of notions is Nothing-
It grew dark, and they were falling asleep on their '
walking legs, when they came to a barn-yard. Very
glad were they to creep into it, and search for the
warmest place. It was a quiet part of the country, and
for years nothing had been stolen from anybody, so that
the people were not so watchful as in many places.
They went prowling about, but even Tommy with
innocent intent, eager only after a little warmth, and as
much sleep as they could find, and came at length to an
open window, through which they crawled into what, by
the smell and the noises, they knew to be a stable. It
was very dark, but Clare was at home, and felt his way
about; while Tommy, who was afraid of the horses, held
close to him. Clare's hand fell upon the hind-quarters
of a large well-fed horse. The huge animal was asleep
standing, but at the touch of the small hand he gave a
low whinny. Tommy shuddered at the sound.
" He's pleased," said Clare, and crept up on his near
side into the stall. There he had soon made such friends
with him, that he did not hesitate to get in among the
hay the horse had for his supper.
"Here, Tommy!" he cried in a whisper; "there's room
for us both in the manger."
But Tommy stood shaking. He fancied the darkness
full of horses' heads, and would not stir. Clare had to
get out again, and search for a place to suit his fancy,
which he found in an untenanted loose-box, with remains
114 A ROUGH SHAKING.
of litter. There Tommy coiled himself up, and was soon
Clare returned to the hospitality of the big horse.
The great nostrils snuffed him over and over as he lay, and
the boy knew the horse made him welcome. He dropped
asleep stroking the muzzle of his chamber-fellow, and
slept all the night, kept warm by the horse's breath, and
the near furnace of his great body.
In the morning the boys found they had slept too long,
for they were discovered. But though they were promptly
ejected as vagabonds, and not without a few kicks and
cuffs, these were not administered without the restraint of
some mercy, for their appearance tended to move pity
rather than indignation.
ON THE TKAMP.
WITH the new day came the fresh necessity for
breakfast, and the fresh interest in the discovery
of it. But breakfast is a thing not always easiest to
find where breakfasts most abound ; nor was theirs when
found that morning altogether of a sort to be envied, ill
as they could afford to despise it. Passing, on their goal-
less way, a flour-mill, the door of which was half -open,
they caught sight of a heap, whether floury dust or
dusty flour, it would have been hard to say, that seemed
waiting only for them to help themselves from it. Fain
to still the craving of birds too early for any worm, they
swallowed a considerable portion of it, choking as it was,
ON THE TRAMP. 115
nor met with rebuke. There was good food in it, and
they might have fared worse.
Another day's tramp was thus inaugurated. How it
was to end no one in the world knew less than the
Before it was over, a considerable change had passed
upon Clare; for a new era was begun in his history, and
he started to grow more rapidly. Hitherto, while with
his father or mother, or with his little sister, making life
happy to her; even while at the farm, doing hard work,
he had lived with much the same feeling with which he
read a story: he was in the story, half dreaming, half
acting it. The difference between a thing that passed
through his brain from the pages of a book, or arose in
it as he lay hi bed either awake or asleep, and the thing
in which he shared the life and motion of the day, was
not much marked in his consciousness. He was a dreamer
with open eyes and ready hands, not clearly distinguish-
ing thought and action, fancy and fact. Even the cold
and hunger he had felt at the farm had not sufficed to
wake him up; he had only had to wait and they were
removed. But now that he did not know whence his
hunger was to be satisfied, or where shelter was to be
had; now also that there was a hunger outside him, and
a cold that was not his, which yet he had to supply and
to frustrate in the person of Tommy, life began to grow
real to him; and, which was far more, he began to grow
real to himself, as a power whose part it was to encounter
the necessities thus presented. He began to understand
that things were required of him. He had met some of
these requirements before, and had satisfied them, but
without knowing them as requirements. He did it half
116 A ROUGH SHAKING.
awake, not as a thinking and willing source of the motion
demanded. He did it all by impulse, hardly by response.
Now we are put into bodies, and sent into the world, to
wake us up. We might go on dreaming for ages if we
were left without bodies that the wind could blow upon,
that the rain could wet, and the sun scorch, bodies to
feel thirst and cold and hunger and wounds and weari-
ness. The eternal plan was beginning to tell upon Clare.
He was in process of being changed from a dreamer to
a man. It is a good thing to be a dreamer, but it is a
bad thing indeed to be only a dreamer. He began to
see that everybody in the world had to do something in
order to get food; that he had worked for the farmer and
his wife, and they had fed him. He had worked willingly
and eaten gladly, but had not before put the two together.
He saw now that men who would be men must work.
His eyes fell upon a congregation of rooks in a field
by the roadside. "Are they working?" he thought; "or
are they stealing? If it be stealing they are at, it looks
like hard work as well. It can't be stealing though;
they were made to live, and how are they to live if they
don't grub? that's their work! Still the corn ain't theirs!
Perhaps it's only worms they take! Are the worms
theirs? A man should die rather than steal, papa said.