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speak to him; but I never stirred, of course;
and no wonder he supposed I was sulking.
But all this is very disagreeable; and so I
will go on to other things.

Mrs. Owen was in the orchard one day, and
she chanced to look over the hedge, and she
saw me lying on my face on the ground. I
used often to be so then, for I was stupid at
play, where there was any calling out, and
the boys used to make game of me. Mrs.
Owen told the Doctor, and the Doctor said
there must be something wrong, and he
should be better satisfied if Mr. Pratt, the
surgeon, saw me. Mr. Pratt found out that
I was deaf, though he could not tell what was
the matter with my ears. He would have
put on blisters, and I don't know what else;
but the Doctor said it was so near the holidays,
I had better wait till I got home. There
was an end to taking places, however. The
Doctor told them all, that it was clear now
why I had seemed to go back so much; and
that he reproached himself, and wondered at
everybodythat the reason had not been
found out before. The top of the class was
nearest to the usher, or the Doctor, when he
heard us; and I was to stand there always,
and not take places with the rest. After
that, I heard the usher very well, and got on
again. And after that, the boys, and particularly
Charley, were kinder again; and if
I had been good-tempered, I dare say all
would have gone right. But, somehow, everything
seemed to go wrong and be uncomfortable,
wherever I might be, and I was always
longing to be somewhere else. I was longing
now for the holidays. I dare say every boy
was longing for the holidays; but I was
particularly, because everything at home was
so bright, and distinct, and cheerful, compared
with school, that half-year. Everybody
seemed to have got to speak thick and
low; most of the birds seemed to have gone
away; and this made me long more to see
my turtle-doves, which Peggy had promised
to take care of for me. Even the church-bell
seemed as if it was muffled; and when the
organ played, there were great gaps in the
music, which was so spoiled that I used to
think I had rather there had been no music
at all. But all this is disagreeable too; so I
will go on about Charley.

His father and mother asked me to go
home with him, to stay for a week; and father
said I might; so I wentand I never was so
uncomfortable in my life. I did not hear
what they said to each other, unless I was
quite in the middle of them, and I knew I
looked stupid when they were all laughing,
and I did not know what it was about. I
was sure that Charley's sisters were quizzing
me,— Kate particularly. I felt always as if
everybody was looking at me; and I know
they talked about me sometimes. I know it
because I heard something that Mrs. Felkin
said one day, when there was a noise in the
street, and she spoke loud without knowing
it. I heard her say, "He never told us the
poor child was deaf." I don't know why, but
I could not bear this. And, after that, some
of them were always telling me things in a
loud voice, so that everybody turned and
looked at me; and then I made a mistake
sometimes about what they told me; and one
mistake was so ridiculous that I saw Kate
turn her back to laugh, and she laughed for
ever so long after. Altogether, I could not
bear it, and so I ran away. It was all very
silly of me, and I know I was very ill-tempered,
and I know how Mr. and Mrs. Felkin must
have found themselves mistaken about me,
as a friend for Charley; but I did not see
any use in staying longer, just to be pitied
and laughed at, without doing any good to
anybody; so I ran away at the end of three
days. I did so long to come home; for I
never had any doubt that everything would
be comfortable at home. I knew where the
coach passed,— a mile and a half from Mr.
Felkin's,— very early in the morning, and I
got out of the study window and ran.
Nobody was up, though, and I need not have
been afraid. I had to ask the gardener for
the key of the back gate, and he threw it to
me from his window. When I was outside, I
called to him to bid him ask Charley to send
my things after me to my father's house. By
the road-side, there was a pond, under a high
hedge, and with some dark trees bending
over it. It just came into my head to drown
myself there, and I should be out of every
body's way, and all this trouble would be at
an end. But ah! when I saw our church-
steeple, I was happy! When I saw our
own gate, I thought I should go on to be

But I did not. It was all over directly. I
could not hear what my mother whispered
when she kissed me; and all their voices
were confused and everything else seemed
to have grown still and dull. I might have
known ail that; but somehow I did not
expect it. I had been vexed that the Felkins
called me deaf; and now I was hurt at the
way in which my brothers and sisters used to
find fault with me for not hearing things.
Ned said once "none are so deaf as those
that won't hear;" and my mother told me,
every day, that it was inattention; that if I
were not so absent, I should hear as much as
anybody else. I don't think I was absent. I
know I used to long and to try to hear till I
could not help crying; and then I ran and
bolted myself into my own room. I think I
must have been half crazy then, judging by
what I did to my turtle-doves. Peggy had
taken very good care of them; and they
soon knew me again, and used to perch on
my head and my shoulder, as if I had never
been away. But their cooing was not the
least like what it used to be. I could not
hear it at all, unless I put my head against
the cage. I could hear some other birds very
well; so I fancied it must somehow be the