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of it as their own playground, and to and from
this they march from their landing-place in
procession and singing merrily. On a recent
afternoon, when the word was passed to fall in for
the return home, four boys were missing.
"Run away!" passed from mouth to mouth,
and their schoolmates emphatically pronouncing
it a shame, proceeded, uninstructed, to band
themselves into parties of four for the search.
They were unsuccessful, and the truants were
eventually brought back by the local police.
But the indignation of the whole school had
been so marked that it was determined to
utilise it for purposes of discipline. A court
was formed by selecting the leading boy from
each of the ten ship's messes, and constituting
him a member. The runaways were formally
charged with their offence, and the whole
proceedings invested with full judicial solemnity.
After a grave inquiry, the court found the
prisoners guilty of the crime of running away
"without excuse," and sentenced them to the
following punishment for a month: each boy to
be kept on prison diet of bread and water, to
pick a pound of oakum after his regular day's
work, and to be sent to Coventry in play-hours
by the rest of the crew.

The sentence was confirmed by the highest
authority on board, and rigidly carried out. At the
time of our visit a few days had to elapse before
the penal month expired; and the lads were
still in "Coventry." The public opinion of the
vessel so thoroughly affirmed the sentence of the
court that the culprits had been as completely
ostracised by their fellows as lepers were
of old. This is the more significant from its
denoting a complete reversal of tone in the little
community. Very few months before theft
was common, and discovery impossible. The
store-rooms were broken open, the lockers
rifled, and their contents strewed wastefully
about the decks. The food taken was the same
as that served out daily as rations; so every lad
was asked whether he had enough to eat, and
all answered in the affirmative. Still, despite
the absence of excuse and of every precaution,
burglary went on almost nightly. The
instinct of stealing and of defying authority
seemed too strong to be set aside; and as
the lads refused to betray each other, the
discipline of the ship was in serious jeopardy.
Stronger locks were provided for the store-room
doors, but the active little marauders, dropping
silently from the deck, swarmed in at the portholes,
and were as successful as before. Again,
the boys were constantly convicted of robbing
each other, of lying, of dirty habits, and of other
schoolboy crimes. It speaks volumes for the
system that these have absolutely disappeared.
Judicious discipline, and friendly co-operation
and remonstrances, have absolutely made these
boys ardent supporters instead of defiers of
authority; and the confident cheeriness with which
they are now setting about their work and play,
proves them to have made the grand discovery
that there is more real fun and happiness to be
got out of an orderly than a disreputable life.

God save the Queen from some ninety lusty
young throats, with officers, schoolmasters,
and visitors joining in; a manly exhortation
from the captain to fear God, do their duty, and
honour the Queen, and the choir disperses to
its work. A portion of the main deck is screened
off with canvas for the school, and here brisk-
eyed monitors, clothed like their fellows in the
blue serge shirt and glazed hat of the man-of-
war's man, are hearing lessons and giving
instruction from their desks. Further on is the
compass class, where the black and white discs
are being worked in like manner by the elder
boys for the benefit of the rest. The lead-line
class is under the supervision of an officer, whose
pupils are laughing heartily at the quaint similes
with which he illustrates an example. One
boat's crew is away pulling; two large parties
are learning practical seamanship; another
forms the tailor's, and another again the
shoemaker's class. All busy, all cheerful, all healthy-
looking and contented. Each of these boys is
being fitted for the merchant service, and one
of their number joined his ship a few weeks ago,
the owners promising to give him their active
support, and that he shall be promoted from
step to step in due course, and a command
given him directly he is competent. This is the
first instance of a boy beginning the battle of
life from the Chichester; but others are nearly
ready, and every few weeks adds to the
number.

We have said nothing of the religious training
these lads undergo. It is ample and
judicious, and, above all, popular. Great
stress is laid on this by the responsible
authorities, and as the boys before us are as
open-visaged and unsanctimoniously natural as
boys should be, we learn with satisfaction of
their attention to the great principles of religion,
and of its influence on their daily life.

The marvel is, how has it all been done in so
short a time. In February, 1866, the opening
supper was given to all comers, provided only
they were boys, and destitute, at the Boys'
Refuge in Great Queen-street. On the 31st of
December last, fifty boys were received on board
from the Refuge, and forty-five have been added
since. The thieving, disobedience, and general
misconduct, all took place since the latter date,
and have been overcome subsequently. This, too,
be it remembered, with the refuse of our juvenile
population as material to work upon. We ask
our guide and host whether the docility, and
exceptionally high sense of honour which he
maintains to exist among his pupils, do not form
an argument against some favourite and high-
flown theories respecting "race." If six months
suffice to convert the scum of the London
gutters into beings who are in all essentials of
morality superior to the flower of the land as
seen at our great public schools, what becomes
of the lofty privileges attributed to gentle
blood? The eminently encouraging truth
seems to be, that favourable surrounding,
together with proper discipline and education,
are more than a match for evil instincts,

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