Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Heroes Of New Swishford
by [?]


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 captain, had been invited to spend Christmas at Walkenshaw’s, the mathematical Dux’s, and every one knew how well Miss Walkenshaw and Blunt had “hit it” the last prize day, and prophecies were rife accordingly. More than that, Shanks, of the Fifth, had whispered in the ear of one or two bosom friends, and thus into the ear of all Swishford, that he was going into “swallows” this winter, and he had got down a book from town with instructions for self-measurement, and was mysteriously closeted in his own study every other evening with a tape. Other boys were beginning to “sit up” a little in the prospect of the coming examination, and generally there was an air of expectation about the place which was prophetic of the coming event.

On the afternoon, however, on which my story opens, two boys as they walked arm-in-arm along the cliffs towards Raveling, appeared to be engrossed in consultation, which, to judge by their serious faces, had nothing to do with Christmas. Let me introduce them to the reader. The taller of the two is a fine, sturdy, square-shouldered youth of fifteen or thereabouts, whose name in a certain section of Swishford is a household word. He is Bowler, the cock of the Fourth, who in the football match against Raveling a fortnight ago picked up the ball at half-back and ran clean through the enemy’s ranks and got a touch-down, which Blunt himself acknowledged was as pretty a piece of running as he had seen in his time. Ever since then Bowler has been the idol of the lower school.

His companion is a more delicate-looking boy, of about the same age, with a cheery face, and by no means unpleasant to look at. He is Gayford, as great a favourite in his way as Bowler, a boy whom nobody dislikes, and whom not a few, especially Bowler, like very much.

These are the two who walked that afternoon towards Raveling.

“Are you sure the fellow in the book doesn’t make it all up?” said Bowler dubiously.

“Not a bit of it,” replied his companion. “My uncle’s a captain, you know, and he says there are hundreds of islands like it, the jolliest places you ever saw, any amount of food, no wild animals, splendid weather all the year round, magnificent mountains and valleys and woods and bays, gorgeous fishing and hunting, oceans of fruit trees, everything a fellow could wish for, and not a soul on one of them.”

“Rum,” said Bowler reflectively; “seems rather a waste of jolly islands that.”

“Yes; but the thing is they’re hundreds of miles away from inhabited islands, so no one ever sees them.”

“Except your uncle. I wonder he wasn’t tempted to get out and take possession of one.”

“That’s just exactly what he said he was tempted to do,” replied Gayford, stopping short excitedly. “He said very little would have tempted him to do it, Bowler.”

“Oh!” was Bowler’s only reply.

“And I tell you another thing,” continued Gayford, “he gave me an old chart with the identical island he saw marked on it, and I’ve got it in my box, my boy.”

“Have you, though?” said Bowler. “I’d like to have a look at it.”

That evening the two boys held a solemn consultation in their study over Captain Gayford’s chart, and Gayford triumphantly pointed out the little island to his friend.

“There he is,” said he; “he doesn’t look a big one there, but he’s eight or ten miles across, my uncle says.”