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49 Works of Talbot Baines Reed

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My First Football Match

Story type: Literature

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It was a proud moment in my existence when Wright, captain of our football club, came up to me in school one Friday and said, “Adams, your name is down to play in the match against Craven to-morrow.” I could have knighted him on the spot. To be one of the picked “fifteen,” whose glory […]

Once, and once only, did I play truant from Parkhurst, and that transgression was attended with consequences so tragical that to this day its memory is as vivid and impressive as if the event I am about to record had happened only last week, instead of a quarter of a century ago. I shall recall […]

“Now, Parkhurst, turn out sharp! They are going in first.” So shouted Steel, the captain of our eleven, putting his head in at the door of the tent in which we were arraying ourselves in flannels and spiked shoes, and otherwise arming for the great match against Westfield School, which was now about to commence. […]

The Parkhurst Boat-Race

Story type: Literature

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“Adams is wanted down at the boat-house!” Such was the sound which greeted my ears one Saturday afternoon as I lolled about in the playground at Parkhurst, doing nothing. I jumped up as if I had been shot, and asked the small boy who brought the message who wanted me. “Blades does; you’ve got to […]

“The meet is to be at one o’clock, sharp, in the Dean’s Warren–don’t forget!” So said Forwood, the “whipper-in” of the Parkhurst Hare and Hounds Club, to me, one March morning in the year 18–. I had no need to be reminded of the appointment; for this was the day of the “great hunt” of […]

The Sulky Boy

Story type: Literature

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We all know him. He might be a good-looking fellow, perhaps, if it weren’t for the scowl over his eyes and the everlasting pout about his lips. He skulks about with his hands in his pockets, and his head hung down. We all make room for him, and give him a wide berth; no one […]

The Sneak

Story type: Literature

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Sneak! It’s an ugly name, but not ugly enough, believe me, for the animal it describes. Like his namesake, the snake, he may be a showy enough looking fellow at first sight, he may have the knack of wriggling himself into your acquaintance, and his rattle may amuse you for a time, but wait till […]

“I tell you what it is, you fellows, I shall learn to swim!” The speaker was Bobby Jobson, a hero of some thirteen summers, who, in company with four of us, his schoolfellows, sat on the bank of the Colven, under some willows, dabbling his shins in the clear water of the river. The summer […]

The last Saturday before the summer holidays was invariably a great day at Parkhurst. The outdoor exercises of the previous ten months culminated then in the annual athletic sports, which made a regular field-day for the whole school. Boys who had “people” living within a reasonable distance always did their best to get them over […]

The Duffer

Story type: Literature

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What school is without its duffer, I wonder? Of course, none of us answer to the name, but we all know somebody who does, and it’s a curious thing nobody ever thoroughly dislikes a duffer. Why? Well, one reason may be that there’s nothing as a rule objectionable about such fellows, and another is that […]

The Scapegrace

Story type: Literature

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The fellow’s always in a row! No matter what it’s about; no matter whose fault it is; no matter how he tried to keep out of it; it’s always the same–he’s in a row. To fancy him not in a row would involve a flight of imagination of which we, at any rate, are utterly […]

The Unoriginal Boy

Story type: Literature

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It takes one a long time to discover that there is something wanting in the character of Ebenezer Ditto; and it takes a longer time still to make out exactly what that something is. He’s an ordinary-looking and ordinarily-behaved boy. There’s nothing amiss with the cut of his coat–it’s neither extra grand nor extra shabby; […]

One might fancy at the first blush, that such a boy is one to be envied, admired, and caressed above all others. Never wrong! What would not some of us give to have the same said of us? Aren’t we always blundering and losing our way and making asses of ourselves every day of our […]

The Untidy Boy

Story type: Literature

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Look at him! You could tell he was an untidy fellow at a single glance. One of his bootlaces is hanging loose, and the band of his scarf has slipped up above his collar. Though it is a fine day, his trouser legs are splashed up to the knee; and as for a parting to […]

The Easy-Going Boy

Story type: Literature

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It is a common complaint in these degenerate days that we live harder than our fathers did. Whatever we do we rush at. We bolt our food, and run for the train; we jump out of it before it has stopped, and reach the school door just as the bell rings; we “cram” for our […]

The Dandy

Story type: Literature

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Fine feathers make fine birds. This is a proverb which a great many people in our country–especially young people–most devoutly believe in, and they show their belief in a very emphatic way. They rig themselves out in the height of the fashion, no matter how ridiculous it is, or how uncomfortable; they take airs upon […]

The Growler

Story type: Literature

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Who doesn’t know Growler, of our school? He was a sort of fellow nothing and nobody could satisfy. If Growler were a week in an African desert without a drop of water to drink, and some one were then to come and offer him a draught, you may depend upon it the fellow would have […]

The fierce storm beats down on the gloomy Norman Castle of Falaise, in a deep dungeon of which lies imprisoned the boy Prince Arthur, lawful heir to the crown of England, but now, alas! a helpless victim of the cruelty and injustice of his bad uncle, John Plantagenet, the usurper of his throne. The thunder […]

A poor boy, meanly clad, and carrying in his hand a small bundle, trudged sadly along the road which led over the moor of Finsbury to Highgate. The first streak of dawn was scarcely visible in the eastern sky, and as he walked, the boy shivered in the chill morning air. More than once he […]

The eager crowd thronged the little Norman seaport of Barfleur. Knights in armour, gay ladies and merry children mingled in the narrow streets which led down to the bustling harbour, in which lay at anchor a gay fleet of ships, decked with pennons and all the marks of festivity and rejoicing. One man’s name was […]

A youth was pacing restlessly to and fro in a wood bordering on the old town of Tours, in France. He was scarcely twenty years of age, and of a forbidding countenance. Cruelty and cunning were stamped on his features, and as he strode aimlessly among the trees, muttering to himself, and striking often with […]

The Bully

Story type: Literature

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There are bullies and bullies. There is the big brother, for instance, who considers it as much part of his duty to administer an occasional cuff to his youthful relative, as he does to stroke his own chin for the first sign of a beard, or to wear his tall hat on Sundays. That is […]

A terrible scene might have been witnessed near the small town of Hexham, in Northumberland, one May afternoon in the year 1464. A great battle had just been fought and won. Civil war, with all its hideous accompaniments, had laid desolate those fair fields where once cattle were wont to browse and peasants to follow […]

A scene of unwonted excitement was being enacted in Dublin. The streets were thronged with people, the houses were gay with flags, soldiers lined the paths, and nobles in their grand carriages went by in procession. The common folk shouted till they were hoarse, and pressed forward on every hand towards the great church of […]

A horseman stood at the gate of the Tower of London, and demanded entrance in the name of the king, Richard III. On hearing the summons, and the authority claimed by the stranger, the governor, Sir Thomas Brackenbury, directed that he should be admitted, and deliver his message. “Read this,” said the man, handing a […]

The sun rose brightly over the little village of Crecy on the morning of Saturday, August 26, 1346. The golden corn was standing in the fields, the cattle were quietly grazing in the meadows, the birds were twittering in the woods, and in the still morning air rose the gentle murmur of a joyous stream. […]

Bilk’s Fortune

Story type: Literature

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–A GHOST STORY. CHAPTER I. SUPERSTITION. We had a fellow at Holmhurst School who rejoiced in the name of Alexander Magnus Bilk. But, as sometimes happens, our Alexander the Great did not in all respects resemble the hero to whom he was indebted for his name. Alexander the Great, so the school-books say, was small […]

Very Much Abroad

Story type: Literature

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Being the impressions of foreign travel, communicated chiefly to a particular friend by Thomas Hooker, minor, of Rugby, during the course of a Continental tour in France and Switzerland in the company of his brother, James Hooker, major, also of Rugby. London, July 31. Dear Gus,–Here’s a spree! The pater’s got an idea into his […]

A Night On Scafell Pike

Story type: Literature

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Off at last! Hard work to get off, though; as if a fellow of fifteen wasn’t old enough to take care of himself. Mother cut up as much as if I’d asked leave to go to my own funeral–said I was too young, and knew nothing of the world, and all that sort of thing. […]

It was a strange moment in the history of England when the great King Henry the Eighth. (“Bluff King Hal,” as his subjects called him) breathed his last. However popular he may have been on account of his courage and energy, he possessed vices which must always withhold from him the name of a good […]

I was born a dawdler. As an infant, if report speaks truly, I dawdled over my food, over my toilet, and over my slumbers. Nothing (so I am told) could prevail on me to stick steadily to my bottle till it was done; but I must needs break off a dozen times in the course […]

A True Story In Two

Story type: Literature

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Chapter I. THE STORY Ferriby had broken up. The rats and mice were having their innings in the schoolrooms, and the big bell was getting rusty for want of exercise. The door of the Lower Third had not had a panel kicked out of it for a whole week, and Dr Allsuch’s pictures and sofas […]

A SCHOOL EPISODE IN FOUR CHAPTERS. Chapter I. Consultation. The autumn term at Swishford School was more than half over, and boys were waking up to the hope that after all the Christmas holidays, which seemed such a way off six weeks ago, might yet arrive during their lifetime. It was already rumoured that Blunt, […]

The School Cuts Me

Story type: Literature

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Chapter I. I hardly know yet what it was all about, and at the time I had not an idea. I don’t think I was more of a fool than most fellows of my age at Draven’s, and I rather hope I wasn’t an out-and-out cad. But when it all happened, I had my doubts […]

Chapter I. Stowaways. We were spending the winter of 185–, my young brother Jack and I, with our grandfather at Kingstairs, a quiet little seaside village not a hundred miles from the Nore. I am not quite clear to this day as to why we were there–whether we were sent for a treat, or for […]

A CHAPTER OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY. We know that it always is, or should be, embarrassing to a hero to recite the history of his own exploits. So if this simple narrative strikes the reader as defective, he must excuse it for that reason. For I am in this painful position, that as no one else will […]

Sigurd The Hero

Story type: Literature

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THE TOWER OF THE NORTH-WEST WIND On the rugged shore of the Northern Sea, where the summer sun never sets, there stood long ago a grim bleak fortress, called the Tower of the North-West Wind. Before it stretched the sea, which thundered ceaselessly at its base, like a wolf that gnaws at the root of […]

My First Tragedy

Story type: Literature

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FOREWORD. I have admired tragedy from my earliest days. I believe I must have acted in it in the nursery–at least the scenes I have in my mind appeared to me to be tragic at the time, although it was not of my own will that I participated in them. The occasions, for instance, when […]

[Copy of a holiday letter from Gus. Cutaway, of the Upper Remove, Shellboro’, to his particular chum and messmate. Joseph Rackett]:– Dear Jossy,–If you want a motto in life, I’ll give you one–“‘Ware kids!” Don’t you have anything to do with kids, unless you want to lose all your pocket money, and be made a […]

The Poetry Club

Story type: Literature

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During one of my terms at G– (and in speaking of that famous old school it is quite unnecessary to mention more than the first letter of its name) a serious epidemic broke out. It affected chiefly the lower half of the upper school, and during the brief period of its duration it assumed so […]

A LEGEND OF THE CIVIL WAR. Several summers ago I happened to be spending a few weeks at W–, a small fishing village on the Welsh coast. A beautiful little place it was, nestling in a break of the cliffs which rose majestically above it on either side and stretched in gaunt rugged walls seaward. […]

Run To Earth

Story type: Literature

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Chapter I. ON THE TRAIL Michael McCrane had bolted! There was not a shadow of a doubt about it. The moment I reached the bank that eventful morning and saw the manager’s desk open, and the tin cash-box lying empty on the floor, I said at once to myself, “This is McCrane’s doing.” And as […]

Part I. A DISCOVERY What cannot one discover on an old bookstall? Who would have supposed I should have had the luck to pick up the extraordinary collection of newspaper-cuttings which are here presented to the reader? The extracts speak for themselves. They present in a moderately connected form the story of a famous epoch […]

Chapter I. THE ARREST It was a ferociously hot day at the beginning of the summer vac. I, as in duty bound, had been spending my first day as a well-conducted, newly broken-up schoolboy should. Being fully impressed with the importance of combining self-improvement with all my recreations, I had been in the morning to […]

Chapter I. THE INTERRUPTED FEAST The Singletons were a small Lowland clan, or rather faction, for their name does not appear in history as a clan. For all that, they were as loyal to their king and as devoted to their chief as any clan in Scotland, and when the time for sacrifice and hard […]

Chapter I. THE PLOT It was a bold undertaking, no doubt, at our tender age, to propose to take the world by storm. But others had done it before us. We had read our Wonderful Boys and our Boyhood of Great Men carefully and critically. We had seen that Mozart had composed music at six, […]

Our own Penny-dreadful

Story type: Literature

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Preface. I am always coming across old manuscripts. I am not sure of the date of the following, but I fancy it must have been written for a prize, which, strange to say, it failed to secure. The only conditions were that the story should have lots of “go” in it, that the incidents should […]

“When I was a young fellow,” began my grandfather– There was a general silence and a settling of ourselves in our seats, as the wavering voice of the old man uttered these magical words. No one had asked him to tell a story, some of us had almost forgotten that he was sitting there in […]

A Queer Picnic

Story type: Literature

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Chapter I. A MYSTERIOUS MOUNTAIN Magnus minor and my brother Joe were about as chummy as two fellows who had not a single taste in common could well be. Magnus, you know, was an athlete. At least, he was in the fourth eleven, and ran regularly in the quarter-mile open handicap. He got fifty yards […]