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horses, they are also to like the society of grooms; yet, I am sorry to say, Hector was almost as fond of the grooms as he was of the horses. When attended in his rides, the groom was sure to say how glad he would be if his papa kept hounds; that when he came to be a man he hoped he would do so; that he ought, for as he was an only son, he would have the finest fortune in the county ; it was so lucky for him that he was “ Number One," all alone, not plagued like young Master Lycet with seven brothers and sisters,having the name of eldest son, and yet getting so little by it; it was a fine thing, he said, to continue “Number One,” a fine thing for any young gentleman, who could then do as he liked, and be his own master. But it was not only nurses and grooms who said wrong and foolish things in the boy's hearing; finely dressed but silly ladies, when they smoothed his ringlets and kissed him, said he was a pretty boy, and between his beauty and his fortune would be sure to be a great favourite ;” and even sober gentlemen spoke in the child's hearing of “the careful manner in which Mr. Howard lived, and which must secure his son an immense fortune hereafter."
Master Nicholas Lycet, the young gentleman of whom the groom had spoken, came to see him one day. He was three or four years older than “ Number One.” “Master Howard,” said Nick, “you are often very lonely, I suppose?”.
“No,” said Hector, “not very.”
“Well I should think you were. What do you do when you want some one to play with you ?”.
“ Oh! why I play by myself, at ball, and the servants pick it up, and then I throw it again.”
“And then they pick it up again, I suppose?” said Master Lycet, laughing.
“To be sure they do,” replied Master Howard, seriously.
“But that is not what I call play,” observed Nicholas; “I like a game of ball with my two brothers, while my sisters and the little ones look on, and shout, and enjoy it as much as ourselves.”
“But does not that disturb you?”
“ No. The very little ones sometimes run under our feet, but that only makes us all laugh the more; and sometimes we take our kites to the hill, and see whose will fly highest ; and we are learning cricket; and we race our little Shetland ponies sometimes, only not too long, because we must not fatigue them; and we go nutting in the wood; and on wet days we dance and fence, and play small plays together.”
“But,” said Hector, “ do not the young ones want your pony to ride, and your toys and things ?”.
“ To be sure they do,” replied Nicholas. “And what do you do?”
“Let them have them; it is such a pleasant thing to make them happy."
Hector was very much puzzled to know how it was, that giving his toys to others to play with could make him happy; and while he was thinking it over, he took Nicholas to his play-room, and shewed him toys enough to set up a toy-shop, amongst which was the largest rocking-horse ever made in England.”
“I will shew you how beautifully it goes," said Hector, springing on its back.
“ Capital !” exclaimed his companion; “now let me try.".
" Oh no!” replied Hector, "you can look at me; that will do for you quite as well.”
“I beg your pardon,” said young Lycet, fully sensible of his companion's selfish rudeness; “but at home we have all things so much in common that I did not think you would wish to keep all the fun to yourself.”
Hector got down, looking sulky, and, tossing his head, replied: “Well, I dare say that may be the case ; you are an eldest son, but I am an only child, and shall have the finest estate in the county.”
“Not till your papa dies," answered Master Lycet, “and I am sure you do not wish for that.”
Hector did not wish it, and felt the tears rush to his eyes at the idea. He changed the subject, and then took his acquaintance to the stable to shew him his little Arabian horse, which he mounted, and exhibited its paces, but never offered Nicholas a ride.”
“I have not seen any pets,” said Nick.”
“I had rabbits, and hawks, and dogs, and silver pheasants once," answered Hector; “ but when I wanted the servants to attend to me they were busy with the pets. I could not stand that, you know, and so gave them all away, except the dogs; and one tires of dogs, but they are about somewhere.”
“Then I have not seen your books,” observed young Lycet; “ where are your favourite books ?”
“I cannot say I have any favourite books,” replied “ Number One,” blushing a little, for he knew his education had been neglected; but I cannot think how any boy of spirit can have fuvourite books. I have some books, but none worth looking at."
“I wonder at your having anything not worth looking at, as you are an only child,” said Nicholas, bluntly; and then continued, “I am sure I would not change places with you, it is so sweet to make one's brothers and sisters happy, and see them try to make you happy,—I would not change placesand become a “ Number One,'-no, not for all your beautiful things.”
It was not polite to make these observations; but young Lycet was hurt at the rudeness and selfishness of his host, and was too fond at all times of speaking his mind, which, if rudely done, is selfishness in another form. - When the dinner was served, Master Howard's nurse came behind his chair to help him, as usual, picking out the nicest bits, and complaining, while he was devouring everything, that her “ darling had no appetite.” The footman carved; and was about placing the wing of a chicken upon Master Lycet's plate, when the nurse said, “Robert, Robert! you know Master Howard is so delicate that he never eats anything but the liver-wing!”
Robert, who had just entered the service, first apologised, and then said, “ That was a difference in wings he never could understand; as surely the liver did not grow under one wing more than another.”
Hector told him “He was very impertinent to make such an observation, and that he must leave the room."
The servant did so, muttering something about not entering it again, and spoilt children.
Young Lycet felt himself very uncomfortable; and at last asked if he was not to have the pleasure of seeing Master Howard's mamma. The nurse said her lady seldom left her
room; and then Nicholas told them, that his papa had said he hoped Master Howard would return with him to the Hall, as Mr. Howard would soon be home, and then Hector and himself were to be sent to school together. This was as great a surprise to the nurse as to “ Number One.” The former ran up to tell her mistress, and the latter cried over his tart.
Mrs. Howard confirmed young Lycet's information. The nurse attempted to remonstrate; the poor lady silenced her at once, and told her she desired to be alone. She had invited young Lycet, in accordance with a plan at last arranged by Mr. Howard, that his son might know at least one of his future companions; and not feel leaving home as much as if he went among total strangers. To spare his wife as much as possible the pain of parting from her child, when Mr. Howard returned he removed her to Brighton; so there was no leave-taking.
When Hector found that neither his nurse, his pony, nor any of his toys, beyond a cricket-ball and bat, were to go with him, he became quite violent; but Mr. Howard was firm, and though at the very last Hector clung to his knees, and promised to be all he wished, to school he went.
The gentleman to whom he was sent, only received fourteen pupils : those boys cared very little for young Howard's being an only child; but his selfishness and ill-temper annoyed them so much, that he very soon found himself shunned even by young Lycet, whose good humour, industry, and ability, rendered him an universal favourite; the greatest favourite, however, in the school, was a lad of the name of “Rhody." Rhody was an officer's youngest son, the youngest of eleven,