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The Easy-Going Boy
by [?]

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 examinations, and “spurt” for our prizes. We have no time to read books, so we scuttle through the reviews, and consider ourselves up in the subject; we cut short our letters home, and have no patience to sit and hear a long story out. We race off with a chum for a week’s holiday, and consider we have dawdled unless we have covered our thirty miles a day, and can name as visited a string of sights, mountains, lakes, and valleys a full yard long.

If such charges are just (and they are, we fear, not wholly unfounded), it is at least a satisfaction to know that there is one brilliant exception to the rule, and that is in the person of Master Ned Easy.

Whatever other folk do, he has no notion of hurrying himself. Some one once said of him that he was a fellow who looked as if he’d been born with his hands in his pockets. He takes his time about everything he does. If the breakfast bell rings before he is dressed, then–well, breakfast must wait. If breakfast is over before he has well begun, then everybody else must wait while he, in a leisurely way, polishes off his viands. In the classes, his is sure to be the last paper to be handed up; and when the boys are dismissed, he saunters forth to the playground in the rear of all the others. When he is one of a fishing- party, and everybody but he is ready, he keeps them all waiting till their patience is completely exhausted, while he gets together his tackle, laces his boots, and selects his flies.

“Come on! look alive!” is the cry that is for ever being hurled at him, “All serene, old fellow; what’s the hurry?” is his invariable reply.

I well remember the first time I made Ned’s acquaintance, and I will recall the incident, as giving a fair specimen of the fellow and his peculiarity.

It was a big cricket match, the afternoon was far advanced, the light was getting uncertain, and time was almost up. Our school’s ninth wicket had fallen, and yet there were five runs to get to win, which we could just do, if our last man in was quick.

“Now, Ned!” calls out our captain, coming up to the tent; “look sharp in.”

Ned coolly sat down on the bench in our tent and proceeded to put on a pad.

“Never mind about that! there’s no time,” said our captain impatiently, “and they are bowling slow.”

“Oh, it won’t take a minute,” says Ned, discovering he had been putting the pad on upside down, and proceeding to undo it. We stood round in feverish impatience, and the minute consumed in putting on those miserable leg-fenders seemed like a year.

Ned himself, however, did not seem in the least flurried by our excitement.

“Pity they don’t make these things fasten with springs instead of straps,” he observed, by way of genial conversation.

Oh, how we chafed and fumed!

Will you look sharp, if you’re going to play at all?” howls our captain.

“All right, old chap; I can’t be quicker than I am; where are the gloves?”

The gloves are brought like lightning, but not like lightning put on. No, the india-rubber gauntlets must needs be drawn with the greatest care and deliberation over his fingers, and even then require a good deal of shifting to render them comfortable. Then he was actually (I believe) going to take them off in order to roll up his shirt sleeves, had not two of us performed that office for him with a rapidity which astonished him.