The society had only been founded the year before Jack Hampson was sent to Mugby School; so it was in the first zeal and freshness of its youth. Jack didn't like science — it was nothing but a lot of hard, jaw-breaking names, he said, and what was the good of them? He and others had enough of hard words in their daily Latin and Greek tasks. Jack rather snubbed the fellows who volunteered to learn more hard words than were required — he couldn't understand it. What was the good of calling a butter-cup Ranunculus, and a white stone quartz? It was all sham and show!
|Fig. 2. — Scale of Bleak.|
Now, Jack was a born hunter. He was ardently fond of fishing, and not a bad shot, considering he had been mistrusted, instead of trusted, with a gun. I dare say his skill with the latter would have astonished his father; and I have no doubt a good many ounces of 'bacca found their way into the keeper's pocket before he became so creditable a shot.
But there was not much fishing about Mugby; or, rather, they were such little things that Jack felt ashamed of pulling them out, and so he slipped them in again, although they never seemed to grow any bigger. This was a wise act on their part, if they had only known the unconscious chivalry of Jack's nature, which hated
Fig. 3. — Scale of Eel.
taking advantage of a weak thing. Then as to shooting — first, he hadn't a gun, and, if he had possessed one, the rules of the school would have precluded his using it. Next, what was there to shoot? The small birds in the hedges? Any cad could do that! Sneak