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over our books for some hours. I wonder by
what ingenuity we brought on that confused
state of mind when sense became nonsense, when
figures wouldn't work, when dead languages
wouldn't construe, when live languages wouldn't
be spoken, when memory wouldn't come, when
dulness and vacancy wouldn't go. I cannot
remember that we ever conspired to be sleepy
after dinner, or that we ever particularly wanted
to be stupid, and to have flushed faces and hot
beating heads, or to find blank hopelessness and
obscurity this afternoon in what would become
perfectly clear and bright in the freshness of
tomorrow morning. We suffered for these things,
and they made us miserable enough. Neither
do I remember that we ever bound ourselves by
any secret oath or other solemn obligation, to
find the seats getting too hard to be sat upon
after a certain time; or to have intolerable
twitches in our legs, rendering us aggressive and
malicious with those members; or to be troubled
with a similar uneasiness in our elbows, attended
with fistic consequences to our neighbours; or
to carry two pounds of lead in the chest, four
pounds in the head, and several active bluebottles
in each ear. Yet, for certain, we suffered
under those distresses, and were always charged
at for labouring under them, as if we had brought
them on, of our own deliberate act and deed.
As to the mental portion of them being my own
fault in my own caseI should like to ask any
well-trained and experienced teacher, not to say
psychologist. And as to the physical portion
I should like to ask PROFESSOR OWEN."

It happened that I had a small bundle of
papers with me, on what is called " The Half-
Time System" in schools. Referring to one of
those papers I found that the indefatigable MR.
CHADWICK had been beforehand with me, and
had already asked Professor Owen: who had
handsomely replied that I was not to blame, but
that, being troubled with a skeleton, and having
been constituted according to certain natural
laws, I and my skeleton were unfortunately
bound by those lawseven in schooland had
comported ourselves accordingly. Much
comforted by the good Professor's being on my side,
I read on to discover whether the indefatigable
Mr. Chadwick had taken up the mental part of
my afflictions. I found that he had, and that he
had gained on my behalf, SIR BENJAMIN BRODIE,
the common sense of mankind. For which I
beg Mr. Chadwick, if this should meet his eye,
to accept my warm acknowledgments.

Up to that time I had retained a misgiving
that the seventy unfortunates of whom I was
one, must have been, without knowing it,
leagued together by the spirit of evil in a sort of
perpetual Guy Fawkes Plot, to grope about in
vaults witli dark lanterns after a certain period
of continuous study. But now the misgiving
vanished, and I floated on with a quieted mind
to see the Half-Time System in action. For that
was the purpose of my journey, both by steam-boat
on the Thames, and by very dirty railway
on the shore. To which last institution, I beg
to recommend the legal use of coke as engine-fuel,
rather than the illegal use of coal; the
recommendation is quite disinterested, for I was
most liberally supplied with small coal on the
journey, for which no charge was made. I had
not only my eyes, nose, and ears filled, but my
hat, and all my pockets, and my pocket-book,
and my watch.

The V.D.S.C.R.C. (or Very Dirty and Small
Coal Railway Company) delivered me close to
my destination, and I soon found the Half-Time
System established in spacious premises,
and freely placed at my convenience and

What would I see first, of the Half-Time
System? I chose Military Drill. "Attention!"
Instantly, a hundred boys stood forth in the
paved yard as one boy; bright, quick, eager,
steady, watchful for the look of command,
instant and ready for the word. Not only was
there complete precisioncomplete accord to
the eye and to the earbut an alertness in the
doing of the thing which deprived it, curiously,
of its monotonous or mechanical character.
There was perfect uniformity, and yet an
individual spirit and emulation. No spectator could
doubt that the boys liked it. With non-commissioned
officers varying from a yard to a yard
and a half high, the result could not possibly
have been attained otherwise. They marched,
and counter-marched, and formed in line and
square, and company, and single file and double
file, and performed a variety of evolutions; all
most admirably. In respect of an air of enjoyable
understanding of what they were about,
which seems to be forbidden to English soldiers,
the boys might have been small French troops.
When they were dismissed, and the broadsword
exercise, limited to a much smaller number,
succeeded, the boys who had no part in that new
drill, either looked on attentively, or disported
themselves in a gymnasium hard by. The
steadiness of the broadsword boys on their short
legs, and the firmness with which they sustained
the different positions, was truly remarkable.

The broadsword exercise over, suddenly there
was great excitement and a rush. Naval

In a corner of the ground stood a decked
mimic ship, with real masts, yards, and sails
mainmast seventy feet high. At the word of
command from the Skipper of this shipa
mahogany-faced Old Salt, with the indispensable
quid in his cheek, the true nautical roll, and all
wonderfully completethe rigging was covered
with a swarm of boys: one, the first to spring
into the shrouds, outstripping all the others, and
resting on the truck of the main-topmast in no

And now we stood out to sea, in a most
amazing manner; the Skipper himself, the
whole crew, the Uncommercial, and all hands
present, implicitly believing that there was not
a moment to lose, that the wind had that instant
chopped round and sprung up fair, and that we
were away on a voyage round the world. Get all
sail upon her! With a will my lads! Lay out