Horatio Alger.

Hector's Inheritance, Or, the Boys of Smith Institute online

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None of his late followers offered to accompany him. He had come to the
contest with a band of friends and supporters. He left it alone. Even
Bates, his most devoted adherent, remained behind, and did not offer to
accompany the discrowned and dethroned monarch.

"What's Jim going to do?" asked Talbot.

"He's going to tell old Sock, and get us all into trouble."

"It'll be a cowardly thing to do!" said Wilkins. "He's been fairly
beaten in battle, and he ought to submit to it."

"He won't if he can help it."

"I say, boys, three cheers for the new boy!" exclaimed Wilkins.

They were given with a will, and the boys pressed forward to shake the
hand of the boy whose prowess they admired.

"Thank you, boys!" said Hector, "but I'd rather be congratulated on
something else. I would rather be a good scholar than a good fighter."

But the boys were evidently of a different opinion, and elevated Hector
straightway to the rank of a hero.


Jim Smith, as he walked back to the institute, nursing his wrath, felt
very much like a dethroned king. He was very anxious to be revenged upon
Hector, but the lesson he had received made him cautious. He must get
him into trouble by some means. Should he complain to his uncle? It
would involve the necessity of admitting his defeat, unless he could
gloss over the story in some way.

This he decided to do.

On reaching the school he sought his dormitory, and carefully wiped away
the blood from his face. Then he combed his hair and arranged his dress,
and sought his uncle.

Mr. Smith was at his desk, looking over his accounts, and estimating the
profits of the half year, when his nephew made his appearance.

"Uncle Socrates, I'd like to speak to you."

"Very well, James. Proceed."

"I want to complain of the new boy who came this morning."

Socrates Smith looked up in genuine surprise. As a general thing,
his nephew brought few complaints, for he took the responsibility of
punishing boys he did not like himself.

"What! Roscoe?" inquired the principal.


"Is he in any mischief?"

"Mischief? I should say so! Why, he's a regular young Turk."

"A young Turk? I don't think I understand you, James."

"I mean, he's a young ruffian."

"What has he been doing?" asked Socrates, in surprise.

"He pitched into me a short time ago," said Jim, in some embarrassment.

"Pitched into you! You don't mean to say that he attacked you?"

"Yes, I do."

"But he's a considerably smaller boy than you, James. I am surprised
that he should have dared to attack you."

"Yes, he is small, but he's a regular fighter."

"I suppose you gave him a lesson?"

"Ye-es, of course."

"So that he won't be very likely to renew the attack."

"Well, I don't know about that. He's tough and wiry, and understands
boxing. I found it hard work to thrash him."

"But you did thrash him?" said Socrates, puzzled.


"Then what do you want me to do?"

"I thought you might punish him for being quarrelsome."

"It may be a good idea. I remember now that his uncle warned me that he
would need restraining."

"Just so, uncle," said Jim, eagerly. "His uncle was right."

"Well, I will give him a lecture. He will find that he cannot behave as
he pleases at Smith Institute," said Socrates, pompously. "He will find
that I do not tolerate any defiance of authority. I will speak of it
after vespers."

"Thank you, uncle."

"He'll get a raking down!" thought Jim, with gratification. "I'll make
it hot for him here, he may be sure of that."

Half an hour after supper was read a brief evening service called
vespers, and then the boys' study hours commenced. During this time they
were expected to be preparing their lessons for the next day.

The service was generally read by Socrates Smith, A. M., in person. It
was one of the few official duties he performed, and he was generally
very imposing in his manner on this occasion.

When the service had been read on that particular evening, the principal
did not immediately give the signal for study to be commenced. Instead,
he cleared his throat, saying:

"Boys, I have a few words to say to you. This morning a new boy made his
appearance among us. His uncle, or perhaps I should say his guardian,
attracted by the well-deserved fame of Smith Institute, came hither to
enter him among my pupils. I received him cordially, and promised
that he should share with you the rich, the inestimable educational
advantages which our humble seminary affords. I hoped he would be an
acquisition, that by his obedience and his fidelity to duty he would
shed luster on our school."

Here Socrates blew his nose sonorously, and resumed:

"But what has happened? On the very first day of his residence here he
brutally assaults one of our numbers, my nephew, and displays the savage
instincts of a barbarian. His uncle did well to warn me that he would
need salutary restraint."

Hector, who had been amused by the solemn and impressive remarks of
Socrates, looked up in surprise. Had Allan Roscoe really traduced him
in this manner, after robbing him of his inheritance, as Hector felt
convinced that he had done?

"Hector Roscoe!" said Socrates, severely; "stand up, and let me hear
what you have to say for yourself."

Hector rose calmly, and faced the principal, by no means awe-stricken at
the grave arraignment to which he had listened.

"I say this, Mr. Smith," he answered, "that I did not attack your
nephew till he had first attacked me. This he did without the slightest
provocation, and I defended myself, as I had a right to do."

"It's a lie!" muttered Jim, in a tone audible to his uncle.

"My nephew's report is of a different character. I am disposed to
believe him."

"I regret to say, sir, that he has made a false statement. I will give
you an account of what actually occurred. On my return from a walk he
sent a boy summoning me to his presence. As he was not a teacher, and
had no more authority over me than I over him, I declined to obey, but
sent word that if he wished to see me he could come where I was. I then
walked down to the brook in Carver's field. He followed me, as soon
as he had received my message, and, charging me with impertinence,
challenged me to a fight. Well, we had a fight; but he attacked me

"I don't know whether this account is correct or not," said Socrates, a
little nonplused by this new version of the affair.

"I am ready to accept the decision of any one of the boys," said Hector.

"Bates," said Socrates, who knew that this boy was an adherent of his
nephew, "is this account of Roscoe's true?"

Bates hesitated a moment. He was still afraid of Jim, but when he
thought of Hector's prowess, he concluded that he had better tell the

"Yes, sir," he answered.

Jim Smith darted an angry and menacing glance at his failing adherent.

"Ahem!" said Socrates, looking puzzled: "it is not quite so bad as I
supposed. I regret, however, that you have exhibited such a quarrelsome

"I don't think I am quarrelsome, sir," said Hector.

"Silence, sir! I have Mr. Allan Roscoe's word for it."

"It appears to me," said Hector, undauntedly, "that your nephew is at
least as quarrelsome as I am. He forced the fight upon me."

"Probably you will not be in a hurry to attack him again," said
Socrates, under the impression that Hector had got the worst of it.

Some of the boys smiled, but Socrates did not see it.

"As you have probably received a lesson, I will not punish you as I had
anticipated. I will sentence you, however, to commit to memory the first
fifty lines of Virgil's 'AEneid.' Mr. Crabb, will you see that Roscoe
performs his penance?"

"Yes, sir," said Crabb, faintly.

"Is your nephew also to perform a penance?" asked Hector, undaunted.

"Silence, sir! What right have you to question me on this subject?"

"Because, sir, he is more to blame than I."

"I don't know that. I am not at all sure that your story is correct."

Mr. Crabb, meek as he was, was indignant at this flagrant partiality.

"Mr. Smith," he said, "I happen to know that Roscoe's story is strictly
correct, and that your nephew made an unprovoked attack upon him."

Hector looked grateful, and Jim Smith furious.

"Mr. Crabb," said Socrates, angrily, "I did not ask your opinion. So far
as my nephew is concerned, I will deal with him privately. Boys, you may
begin your studies."

All the boys understood that Jim was to be let off, and they thought it
a shame. But Mr. Crabb took care to make Hector's penance as light as

And thus passed the first day at Smith Institute.


Mr. Crabb acted rashly in siding with Hector, and speaking against Mr.
Smith's nephew. Socrates showed his displeasure by a frigid demeanor,
and by seeking occasions for snubbing his assistant. On the other hand,
Hector felt grateful for his intercession, and an intimacy sprang up
between them.

A few days afterward, on a half holiday, Mr. Crabb said: "Roscoe, I am
going out for a walk. Do you care to accompany me?"

"I will do so with pleasure," said Hector, sincerely.

"Mr. Crabb," he said, after they were fairly on their way, "I am sorry
to see that Mr. Smith has not forgiven you for taking my part against

"I would do it again, Roscoe," said the usher. "I could not sit silent
while so great an injustice was being done."

"Do you think Jim was punished?"

"I am sure he was not. He is a boy after Mr. Smith's own heart, that
is, he possesses the same mean and disagreeable qualities, perhaps in a
greater degree. Has he interfered with you since?"

"No," answered Hector, smiling; "he probably found that I object to
being bullied."

"You are fortunate in being strong enough to withstand his attacks."

"Yes," said Hector, quietly; "I am not afraid of him."

"Bullies are generally cowards," said the usher.

"I wonder, Mr. Crabb, you are willing to stay at Smith Institute, as
usher to such a man as Mr. Smith."

"Ah, Roscoe!" said Mr. Crabb, sighing; "it is not of my own free will
that I stay. Poverty is a hard task-master. I must teach for a living."

"But surely you could get a better position?"

"Perhaps so; but how could I live while I was seeking for it. My lad,"
he said, after a pause, "I have a great mind to confide in you; I want
one friend to whom I can talk unreservedly."

"Mr. Crabb," said Hector, earnestly, "I shall feel flattered by your

"Thank you, Roscoe; or, rather, since we are going to be friends, let me
distinguish you from the other boys and call you Hector."

"I wish you would, sir."

"I need not tell you that I am poor," continued Mr. Crabb; "you can read
it in my shabby clothes. I sometimes see the boys looking at my poor
suit, as if they wondered why I dressed so badly. Smith has more than
once cast insulting looks at my rusty coat. It is not penuriousness, as
some of the boys may think - it is poverty that prevents me from attiring
myself more becomingly."

"Mr. Crabb, I sympathize with you," said Hector.

"Thank you, Hector. Of that I am sure."

"Mr. Smith ought to pay you enough to clothe yourself neatly. He makes
you work hard enough."

"He pays me twenty dollars a month," said the usher; "twenty dollars and
my board."

"Is that all?" asked Hector, in amazement. "Why, the girl in the kitchen
earns nearly that."

"To be sure," answered the usher, bitterly; "but in Mr. Smith's
estimation, I stand very little higher. He does not value education, not
possessing it himself. However, you may wonder why, even with this
sum, I cannot dress better. It is because I have another than myself to

"You are not married?" asked Hector, in surprise.

"No; but I have an invalid sister, who is wholly dependent upon me. To
her I devote three-quarters of my salary, and this leaves me very little
for myself. My poor sister is quite unable to earn anything for herself,
so it is a matter of necessity."

"Yes, I understand," said Hector, in a tone of sympathy.

"You now see why I do not dare to leave this position, poor as it is.
For myself, I might take the risk, but I should not feel justified in
exposing my sister to the hazard of possible want."

"You are right, Mr. Crabb. I am very sorry now that you spoke up for me.
It has prejudiced Mr. Smith against you."

"No, no; I won't regret that. Indeed, he would hesitate to turn me
adrift, for he would not be sure of getting another teacher to take my
place for the same beggarly salary."

"Something may turn up for you yet, Mr. Crabb," said Hector, hopefully.

"Perhaps so," answered the usher, but his tone was far from sanguine.

When they returned to the school, Hector carried out a plan which had
suggested itself to him in the interest of Mr. Crabb. He wrote to a boy
of his acquaintance, living in New York, who, he had heard, was in want
of a private tutor, and recommended Mr. Crabb, in strong terms, for that
position. He did this sincerely, for he had found the usher to be a good
teacher, and well versed in the studies preparatory to college. He did
not think it best to mention this to Mr. Crabb, for the answer might be
unfavorable, and then his hopes would have been raised only to be dashed
to the earth.

Later in the day, Hector fell in with Bates, already referred to as a
special friend of Jim Smith. The intimacy, however, had been diminished
since the contest in which Hector gained the victory. Bates was not
quite so subservient to the fallen champion, and Jim resented it.

"I saw you walking out with old Crabb," said Bates.

"He isn't particularly old," said Hector.

"Oh, you know what I mean. Did you ever see such a scarecrow?"

"Do you refer to his dress?" asked Hector.

"Yes; he'll soon be in rags. I shouldn't wonder at all if that old suit
of his was worn by one of Noah's sons in the ark."

"You don't suppose he wears it from choice, do you?"

"I don't know. He's stingy, I suppose - afraid to spend a cent."

"You are mistaken. He has a sister to support, and his salary is very

"I can believe that. Old Sock is mean with his teachers. How much does
he pay Crabb?"

"It is very little, but I don't know that I ought to tell."

"I say, though, Roscoe, I wouldn't go to walk with him again."

"Why not?"

"The boys will say that, you are trying to get into his good graces, so
he'll let you off easy in your lessons."

"I don't want him to let me off easy; I generally intend to be

"I know, but that's what they will say."

"Let them say what they please, and I will do what I please," said
Hector, independently.

"Old Sock ain't any too fond of Crabb since he took your part the other
day. Jim says the old man means to bounce him before long."

"I suppose that means discharge him."

"It means giving him his walking papers. Jim will see that he does it,

Hector did not reply, but he felt more than ever glad that he had
written a letter which might possibly bring the poor usher more
profitable and, at the same time, agreeable employment.

"Jim doesn't like you, either," added Bates.

"I never supposed he did. I can do without his favor."

"He will get you into a scrape if he can."

"I have no doubt whatever of his benevolent intentions toward me. I
shall not let it interfere with my happiness."

Just then a sharp cry was heard, as of a boy in pain. It came from the
school yard, which the two boys were approaching on their return from a

"What's that?" asked Hector, quickly.

"I expect it's the new boy."

One had arrived the day before.

"Is he hurt, I wonder?" asked Hector, quickening his steps.

"Jim's got hold of him, probably," said Bates; "he said this morning
he was going to give the little chap a lesson to break him into school

"He did, did he?" said Hector, compressing his lips. "I shall have
something to say to that," and he quickened his steps.


The last new boy was a little fellow only eleven years old. His name was
Tommy Cooper, as he was called at home. It was his first absence from
the sheltering care of his mother, and he felt lonesome in the great,
dreary school building, where he was called "Cooper," and "you little
chap." He missed the atmosphere of home, and the tenderness of his
mother and sister. In fact, the poor boy was suffering from that most
distressing malady, homesickness.

Had Mrs. Socrates Smith been a kind, motherly woman, she might have done
much to reconcile the boy to his new home; but she was a tall, gaunt,
bony woman, more masculine than feminine, not unlike Miss Sally Brass,
whom all readers of Dickens will remember.

I am sorry to say that a homesick boy in a boarding school does not meet
with much sympathy. Even those boys who have once experienced the same
malady are half ashamed of it, and, if they remember it at all, remember
it as a mark of weakness. There was but one boy who made friendly
approaches to Tommy, and this was Hector Roscoe.

Hector had seen the little fellow sitting by himself with a sad face,
and he had gone up to him, and asked him in a pleasant tone some
questions about himself and his home.

"So you have never been away from home before, Tommy," he said.

"No, sir," answered the boy, timidly.

"Don't call me sir. I am only a boy like you. Call me Hector."

"That is a strange name. I never heard it before."

"No, it is not a common name. I suppose you don't like school very

"I never shall be happy here," sighed Tommy.

"You think so now, but you will get used to it."

"I don't think I shall."

"Oh, yes, you will. It will never seem like home, of course, but you
will get acquainted with some of the boys, and will join in their games,
and then time will pass more pleasantly."

"I think the boys are very rough," said the little boy.

"Yes, they are rough, but they don't mean unkindly. Some of them were
homesick when they came here, just like you."

"Were you homesick?" asked Tommy, looking up, with interest.

"I didn't like the school very well; but I was much older than you when
I came here, and, besides, I didn't leave behind me so pleasant a home.
I am not so rich as you, Tommy. I have no father nor mother," and for
the moment Hector, too, looked sad.

The little fellow became more cheerful under the influence of Hector's
kind and sympathetic words. Our hero, however, was catechised about his
sudden intimacy with the new scholar.

"I see you've got a new situation, Roscoe," said Bates, when Hector was
walking away.

"What do you mean?"

"You've secured the position of nurse to that little cry baby."

"You mean Tommy Cooper?"

"Yes, if that's his name."

"I was cheering up the little fellow a bit. He's made rather a bad
exchange in leaving a happy home for Smith Institute."

"That's so. This is a dreary hole, but there's no need of crying about

"You might if you were as young as Tommy, and had just come."

"Shall you take him under your wing?"

"Yes, if he needs it."

We now come to the few minutes preceding the return of Hector from his
walk, as indicated in the last chapter.

Tommy Cooper was sitting in the school yard, with a disconsolate look,
when Jim Smith, who was never happier than when he was bullying other
boys, espied him.

"What's the matter with you, young one?" he said, roughly, "Is your
grandmother dead?"

"No," answered Tommy, briefly.

"Come here and play."

"I would rather not."

"I am not going to have you sulking round here. Do you hear me?"

"Are you one of the teachers?" asked Tommy, innocently.

"You'll find out who I am," answered Jim, roughly. "Here, Palmer, do you
want a little fun with this young one?"

Palmer and Bates were Jim Smith's most devoted adherents.

"What are you going to do, Jim?" questioned Palmer.

"I'm going to stir him up a little," said Jim, with a malicious smile.
"Go and get a blanket."

"All right!" said Palmer.

"We'll toss him in a blanket. He won't look so sulky after we get
through with him."

There were two or three other boys standing by, who heard these words.

"It's a shame!" said one, in a low voice. "See the poor little chap, how
sad he looks! I felt just as he does when I first came to school."

"Jim ought not to do it," said the second. "It's a mean thing to do."

"Tell him so."

"No, thank you. He'd treat me the same way."

The two speakers were among the smaller boys, neither being over
fourteen, and though they sympathized with Tommy, their sympathy was not
likely to do him any good.

Out came Palmer with the blanket.

"Are there any teachers about?" asked Jim.


"That's good. We shan't be interfered with. Here, young one, come here."

"What for?" asked Tommy, looking frightened.

"Come here, and you'll find out."

But Tommy had already guessed. He had read a story of English school
life, in which a boy had been tossed in a blanket, and he was not slow
in comprehending the situation.

"Oh, don't toss me in a blanket!" said the poor boy, clasping his hands.

"Sorry to disturb you, but it's got to be done, young one," said Jim.
"Here, jump in. It'll do you good."

"Oh, don't!" sobbed the poor boy. "It'll hurt me."

"No, it won't! Don't be a cry baby. We'll make a man of you."

But Tommy was not persuaded. He jumped up, and tried to make his escape.
But, of course, there was no chance for him. Jim Smith overtook him in a
couple of strides, and seizing him roughly by the collar, dragged him
to the blanket, which by this time Palmer and one of the other boys, who
had been impressed into the service reluctantly, were holding.

Jim Smith, taking up Tommy bodily, threw him into the blanket, and then
seizing one end, gave it a violent toss. Up went the boy into the air,
and tumbling back again into the blanket was raised again.

"Raise him, boys!" shouted Jim. "Give him a hoist!"

Then it was that Tommy screamed, and Hector heard his cry for help.

He came rushing round the corner of the building, and comprehended, at a
glance, what was going on.

Naturally his hot indignation was much stirred.

"For shame, you brutes!" he cried. "Stop that!"

If there was anyone whom Jim Smith did not want to see at this moment,
it was Hector Roscoe. He would much rather have seen one of the ushers.
He saw that he was in a scrape, but his pride would not allow him to
back out.

"Keep on, boys!" he cried. "It's none of Roscoe's business. He'd better
clear out, or we'll toss him."

As he spoke he gave another toss.

"Save me, Hector!" cried Tommy, espying his friend's arrival with joy.

Hector was not the boy to let such an appeal go unheeded. He sprang
forward, dealt Jim Smith a powerful blow, that made him stagger, and let
go the blanket, and then helped Tommy to his feet.

"Run into the house. Tommy!" he said. "There may be some rough work

He faced round just in time to fend off partially a blow from the angry

"Take that for your impudence!" shouted Jim Smith. "I'll teach you to
meddle with, me."

But Jim reckoned without his host. The blow was returned with interest,
and, in the heat of his indignation, Hector followed it up with such
a volley that the bully retreated in discomfiture, and was glad to
withdraw from the contest.

"I'll pay you for this, you scoundrel!" he said, venomously.

"Whenever you please, you big brute!" returned Hector, contemptuously.
"It is just like you to tease small boys. If you annoy Tommy Cooper
again, you'll hear from me."

"I'd like to choke that fellow!" muttered Jim. "Either he or I will have
to leave this school."


It would be natural to suppose that Jim Smith, relying upon his
influence with his uncle, would have reported this last "outrage," as he
chose to consider it, to the principal, thus securing the punishment of
Hector. But he was crafty, and considered that no punishment Hector was
likely to receive would satisfy him. Corporal punishment for taking the
part of an ill-used boy, Hector was probably too spirited to submit to,
and, under these circumstances, it would hardly have been inflicted.
Besides, Jim was aware that the offense for which Hector had attacked
him was not likely, if made known, to secure sympathy. Even his uncle
would be against him, for he was fond of money, and had no wish to lose
the new pupil, whose friends were well able to pay for him.

No! He decided that what he wanted was to bring Hector into disgrace.

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