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    Book 2 - Chapter 5

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    Chapter 18
    Previous Chapter
    Maggie's Second Visit

    This last breach between the two lads was not readily mended, and for
    some time they spoke to each other no more than was necessary. Their
    natural antipathy of temperament made resentment an easy passage to
    hatred, and in Philip the transition seemed to have begun; there was
    no malignity in his disposition, but there was a susceptibility that
    made him peculiarly liable to a strong sense of repulsion. The ox--we
    may venture to assert it on the authority of a great classic--is not
    given to use his teeth as an instrument of attack, and Tom was an
    excellent bovine lad, who ran at questionable objects in a truly
    ingenious bovine manner; but he had blundered on Philip's tenderest
    point, and had caused him as much acute pain as if he had studied the
    means with the nicest precision and the most envenomed spite. Tom saw
    no reason why they should not make up this quarrel as they had done
    many others, by behaving as if nothing had happened; for though he had
    never before said to Philip that his father was a rogue, this idea had
    so habitually made part of his feeling as to the relation between
    himself and his dubious schoolfellow, who he could neither like nor
    dislike, that the mere utterance did not make such an epoch to him as
    it did to Philip. And he had a right to say so when Philip hectored
    over _him_, and called him names. But perceiving that his first
    advances toward amity were not met, he relapsed into his least
    favorable disposition toward Philip, and resolved never to appeal to
    him either about drawing or exercise again. They were only so far
    civil to each other as was necessary to prevent their state of feud
    from being observed by Mr. Stelling, who would have "put down" such
    nonsense with great vigor.

    When Maggie came, however, she could not help looking with growing
    interest at the new schoolfellow, although he was the son of that
    wicked Lawyer Wakem, who made her father so angry. She had arrived in
    the middle of school-hours, and had sat by while Philip went through
    his lessons with Mr. Stelling. Tom, some weeks ago, had sent her word
    that Philip knew no end of stories,--not stupid stories like hers; and
    she was convinced now from her own observation that he must be very
    clever; she hoped he would think _her_ rather clever too, when she
    came to talk to him. Maggie, moreover, had rather a tenderness for
    deformed things; she preferred the wry-necked lambs, because it seemed
    to her that the lambs which were quite strong and well made wouldn't
    mind so much about being petted; and she was especially fond of
    petting objects that would think it very delightful to be petted by
    her. She loved Tom very dearly, but she often wished that he _cared_
    more about her loving him.

    "I think Philip Wakem seems a nice boy, Tom," she said, when they went
    out of the study together into the garden, to pass the interval before
    dinner. "He couldn't choose his father, you know; and I've read of
    very bad men who had good sons, as well as good parents who had bad
    children. And if Philip is good, I think we ought to be the more sorry
    for him because his father is not a good man. _You_ like him, don't
    you?"

    "Oh, he's a queer fellow," said Tom, curtly, "and he's as sulky as can
    be with me, because I told him his father was a rogue. And I'd a right
    to tell him so, for it was true; and _he_ began it, with calling me
    names. But you stop here by yourself a bit, Maggie, will you? I've got
    something I want to do upstairs."

    "Can't I go too?" said Maggie, who in this first day of meeting again
    loved Tom's shadow.

    "No, it's something I'll tell you about by-and-by, not yet," said Tom,
    skipping away.

    In the afternoon the boys were at their books in the study, preparing
    the morrow's lesson's that they might have a holiday in the evening in
    honor of Maggie's arrival. Tom was hanging over his Latin grammar,
    moving his lips inaudibly like a strict but impatient Catholic
    repeating his tale of paternosters; and Philip, at the other end of
    the room, was busy with two volumes, with a look of contented
    diligence that excited Maggie's curiosity; he did not look at all as
    if he were learning a lesson. She sat on a low stool at nearly a right
    angle with the two boys, watching first one and then the other; and
    Philip, looking off his book once toward the fire-place, caught the
    pair of questioning dark eyes fixed upon him. He thought this sister
    of Tulliver's seemed a nice little thing, quite unlike her brother; he
    wished _he_ had a little sister. What was it, he wondered, that made
    Maggie's dark eyes remind him of the stories about princesses being
    turned into animals? I think it was that her eyes were full of
    unsatisfied intelligence, and unsatisfied beseeching affection.

    "I say, Magsie," said Tom at last, shutting his books and putting them
    away with the energy and decision of a perfect master in the art of
    leaving off, "I've done my lessons now. Come upstairs with me."

    "What is it?" said Maggie, when they were outside the door, a slight
    suspicion crossing her mind as she remembered Tom's preliminary visit
    upstairs. "It isn't a trick you're going to play me, now?"

    "No, no, Maggie," said Tom, in his most coaxing tone; "It's something
    you'll like _ever so_."

    He put his arm round her neck, and she put hers round his waist, and
    twined together in this way, they went upstairs.

    "I say, Magsie, you must not tell anybody, you know," said Tom, "else
    I shall get fifty lines."

    "Is it alive?" said Maggie, whose imagination had settled for the
    moment on the idea that Tom kept a ferret clandestinely.

    "Oh, I sha'n't tell you," said he. "Now you go into that corner and
    hide your face, while I reach it out," he added, as he locked the
    bedroom door behind them. I'll tell you when to turn round. You
    mustn't squeal out, you know."

    "Oh, but if you frighten me, I shall," said Maggie, beginning to look
    rather serious.

    "You won't be frightened, you silly thing," said Tom. "Go and hide
    your face, and mind you don't peep."

    "Of course I sha'n't peep," said Maggie, disdainfully; and she buried
    her face in the pillow like a person of strict honor.

    But Tom looked round warily as he walked to the closet; then he
    stepped into the narrow space, and almost closed the door. Maggie kept
    her face buried without the aid of principle, for in that
    dream-suggestive attitude she had soon forgotten where she was, and
    her thoughts were busy with the poor deformed boy, who was so clever,
    when Tom called out, "Now then, Magsie!"

    Nothing but long meditation and preconcerted arrangement of effects
    would have enabled Tom to present so striking a figure as he did to
    Maggie when she looked up. Dissatisfied with the pacific aspect of a
    face which had no more than the faintest hint of flaxen eyebrow,
    together with a pair of amiable blue-gray eyes and round pink cheeks
    that refused to look formidable, let him frown as he would before the
    looking-glass (Philip had once told him of a man who had a horseshoe
    frown, and Tom had tried with all his frowning might to make a
    horseshoe on his forehead), he had had recourse to that unfailing
    source of the terrible, burnt cork, and had made himself a pair of
    black eyebrows that met in a satisfactory manner over his nose, and
    were matched by a less carefully adjusted blackness about the chin. He
    had wound a red handkerchief round his cloth cap to give it the air of
    a turban, and his red comforter across his breast as a scarf,--an
    amount of red which, with the tremendous frown on his brow, and the
    decision with which he grasped the sword, as he held it with its point
    resting on the ground, would suffice to convey an approximate idea of
    his fierce and bloodthirsty disposition.

    Maggie looked bewildered for a moment, and Tom enjoyed that moment
    keenly; but in the next she laughed, clapped her hands together, and
    said, "Oh, Tom, you've made yourself like Bluebeard at the show."

    It was clear she had not been struck with the presence of the
    sword,--it was not unsheathed. Her frivolous mind required a more
    direct appeal to its sense of the terrible, and Tom prepared for his
    master-stroke. Frowning with a double amount of intention, if not of
    corrugation, he (carefully) drew the sword from its sheath, and
    pointed it at Maggie.

    "Oh, Tom, please don't!" exclaimed Maggie, in a tone of suppressed
    dread, shrinking away from him into the opposite corner. "I _shall_
    scream--I'm sure I shall! Oh, don't I wish I'd never come upstairs!"

    The corners of Tom's mouth showed an inclination to a smile of
    complacency that was immediately checked as inconsistent with the
    severity of a great warrior. Slowly he let down the scabbard on the
    floor, lest it should make too much noise, and then said sternly,--

    "I'm the Duke of Wellington! March!" stamping forward with the right
    leg a little bent, and the sword still pointing toward Maggie, who,
    trembling, and with tear-filled eyes, got upon the bed, as the only
    means of widening the space between them.

    Tom, happy in this spectator of his military performances, even though
    the spectator was only Maggie, proceeded, with the utmost exertion of
    his force, to such an exhibition of the cut and thrust as would
    necessarily be expected of the Duke of Wellington.

    "Tom, I _will not_ bear it, I _will_ scream," said Maggie, at the
    first movement of the sword. "You'll hurt yourself; you'll cut your
    head off!"

    "One--two," said Tom, resolutely, though at "two" his wrist trembled a
    little. "Three" came more slowly, and with it the sword swung
    downward, and Maggie gave a loud shriek. The sword had fallen, with
    its edge on Tom's foot, and in a moment after he had fallen too.
    Maggie leaped from the bed, still shrieking, and immediately there was
    a rush of footsteps toward the room. Mr. Stelling, from his upstairs
    study, was the first to enter. He found both the children on the
    floor. Tom had fainted, and Maggie was shaking him by the collar of
    his jacket, screaming, with wild eyes. She thought he was dead, poor
    child! and yet she shook him, as if that would bring him back to life.
    In another minute she was sobbing with joy because Tom opened his
    eyes. She couldn't sorrow yet that he had hurt his foot; it seemed as
    if all happiness lay in his being alive.
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    Chapter 18
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