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(For 'The Capricornian.')

I was not very long at school when some new people settled in Tomki Bight, and we had one neighbour whose house we could see by going only half a mile from our own. I also had a new mate   on the school track. The farmer's name was William Bingham, and his son was known as Punty. Mr. Bing- ham was a tall man with a long beard. He walked down with us on Monday morning to introduce Punty to Daniel

Phegan, the teacher, and the old Barn School. Punty was an ambling youth of 13, having a peculiar limping gait when running. According to his father he was a paragon. "As smart a boy as you'd find on the river," he told Phegan. "Handy at anything; can't put him wrong. Most boys of his age awkward and lazy. But Punty has a way of doing things well, an' you can always trust him." 'Tm glad to have him," Mr. Phe- gan interrupted, favouring the new ar- rival with a steady scrutiny that lacked enthusiasm. "I have some dunderheads in my collection here, and a bright lad may help to smarten them up a bit. Is he a scholar ?"   "Oh, yes," said Mr. Bingbam. "He can read the at-bat-cat book, and draw a kangaroo as well as you can." Phegan blew his whistle, rather force- fully, and Bill Bingham inspected the collection with a disapproving eye as the pupils formed into line. Peter Possum, the blackboy, rushed in late, breathing like a winded sheep. 'Two marks off!" snapped Phegan. "Please, sir, I haven't got any," the   blackboy protested. 'Take them off when you get them," said Phegan, who then proceeded to call the roll. All answered but two. "Where's Charlie Pickles" he   asked, looking round. "Please, sir, he fell in the river, an' isn't dry enough yet," Cirly Spencer in- formed him. Charlie and the Spen- cers had to cross the river, on the op- posite side of the bend, to get to school. "I'll dry him when I see him. Where is he?" Phegan persisted.   "On a log down the paddock," Curly answered. "Sitting in his wet clothes?" quer-       ied Phegan. "No sir; his clothes are spread on the grass." "He's got to come to school," said Phegan, determinedly. 'Take a chaff bag down and bring him up; and he can go back for his clothes at playtime. That will teach him to be more care- ful in future." Curly left with a grin, and Phegan turned abruptly to Jack Thompson. "Where is your sister, Minnie, this morning ?" "Please, sir, she got married on Saturday," Jack Thompson answered. "H'm!" said Phegan, his brows lifting in surprise. "Got married!"       Glancing at Bill Bingham, be added, with a dry smile: "She didn't send me any of the wedding cake." "She had some put by an' the mice ate it," Jack Thompson explained. Mr. Bingham thought it extraordinary that a girl shonld leave a public school on Fridav aftemon and get married the next day. But Minnie Thomson was

nearly 18, and was past the leaving age before the opportunity had come for her to begin her education. This little preliminary over, the pupils were marched into school, and Mr. Bingham went off down the plan- tation to see the farmer. Curly Spen cer and Charlie Pickles .entered shortly after. Charlie had made an overall with tlie chaff bag by cutting a bole in the bottom for his head, and slitting the two bottom comers for armholes. , A belt around his waist, and & straw! hat with a rag crown, completed bis attire. His appearance so impressed' his mates that Bve of them immediately got into trouble for spluttering. Their donwfall was a great relief to Char lie. He would have rushed to his seat, but Phegan stopped him. 'How did this happen!' he asked, leaning forward -with a pencil pointing at the culprit. 'The punt slipped back when I was gettin' ouit' said Cbarjie. ' A nice way to come to school I ' Phegan reproved. ' A nice example for yowg gentlemen — if there were any here. Go and clean the blackboard be fore you sit down, you water-rat.' Charlie Pickles was rather sensitive about his looks, and standing at the board in his primitive costume was a dreadful ordeaL He had never found a task more unsuited to l«ig tempera* ment before. It was Phegan's idea of drying htm. Luckily, it was not very long before attention was attrac ted elsewhere. Lessons had commenced, and Phegan was sitting studiously at his desk, when a peculiar creaking, grating noise dis turbed him. It was not continuous; only a few creaky notes that left off abruptly, and after an interval of sil ence, started again. He indined a listening ear towards the dass from which the sosnd appeared to come. Punty Bingham looked uneasy. The amused glances of those around him at once brought him under suspicion. Then the loud, familiar stridnlation of cicadas broke up the calm of the bnsy class and put the matter beyond doubt. Pbegan peered ferociously ow the top of his spectacles. 'Come out here, Punty I' Work was suspended, and all eyes were focussed on the new boy as he went gingerly up to the teacher's desk. ' What have you got in your poc kets 1' demanded Phegan. "A locust, sir," said Punty. His face reddened the next instant as two or three creaky little voices struck up a tune is his coat pocket. A faint girlish titter interrupted. A bay coughed with tears in his eyes, whilst Peter Possum's face was Jike a blob of tar with a streak of ivory across v the middle of it- Phegan removed his spectacles and glowered. ' Empty that pocket out here, Ponty,' he comman ded, tapping the desk. Punty did so, and out tumbled a fine assortment of cicadas, fluttering and scratching, and some screeching loudly in protest at the rough handling they were getting. There were "double drummers," "fiddlers," "floury bakers," "red eyes," "squeak-   ers," "green Mondays," and "yellow Mondays. His mates gaped in envy. of his screeching treasures. But none of them envied him his position. Punty was a trifle bashful. Being a stran- ger in the school, and conscious of everybody watching him, he was wret- chedly uncomfortable. On the other

hand, Master Pickles, now ensconced in his proper place, was feeling a lot bet- ter. "Are you starting a museum, Punty, or collecting for one ?" asked Phegan. "No, sir," answered Punty, looking at   the floor. "What do you carry these things   about in your pocket for?"     "To make them squeak, sir"   "Oh," said Phegan, frowning, "so you are one of the bad buys that find amuse- ment in torturing bush creatures. Sup- pose I were a giant, and I stuck you in my pocket, without food or fresh air and whenever I wanter to amuse my-     self I squeezed you to make you squeak, do you think you'd like it?" 'Soj tJr,' Puuty adiiiittLiJ e-till luiu£ ii,- \,U head. ' They don't like il either,' uiid I'lif £um. )-oiuliiig «1 the Kiivn and yejlow .Minuiux ». -Von'it ;i .:iant Iu then, A ttrrilile giant that flud* uleabun.* in ill I crating ami killing iivlpleits tuittw. Anu-t -ou aeliaiued of Mm'll!' -Yi-».'»lr.' Tlie (rank .JmiBuun t-itMMHl M'A-eral boya u- ehip their haiidti I., ill. ir uioutliH and itouiIi douu a» if they hud bwii Mlildmlv attarLed with ;uiu|iiii(; toothache. Mr. I'lufao mept tiie lutfiea together witu hie fuklm. altti ilu alwiur-faeod giaut was ordered lo liLerale them through tiie window, lie t'-re tplurtiiuc to liia ml. he received a [unhrr lull,, homily (luin tin- teacher 'fkjiit lit anything of Uii. nlture oC iur again,' lie Ntid sternly, blinking m In i ii V linger ut liiin. ?It's' agninel tbe ullea. mid rrup) lo run lovin; little iifatmrw that d«* yoo no harm. It's it Maek fin to ihr them fur yoiir *tii}iitl aniiwiurnt. I'm glad liiat vouie :i--luinied of jourse!!.' Ihiiiii' this link- le.1iir«. Billy llyuu liml bren uiuen worried itv A treasure lir lin.l in hi* vorkrl. Alarmed at Ibe -tern repriiuaiKlinj. -li..t I'mity Bing Imn bad iiwiied. lie w«» desperately) tij-iiu; lo ^t't rid of it. Ilirt. Flwpau*' natidrf-iii^ £are kejit irt^rru|ilio£ Liu:, lii- l»«t «tti-ni|it had Ml the umean-e iuH ii jy out. and It roiunhtttl Ibe inu re:.,. ..I it. o«m at-Mitl. K..r a liltlf \n.y il -iiio1mI up Billy* i-uat. TImjii it .- oilli llic Ask. »n-l «.Uif.|«-d iu lit'lil ol Sal all Cubb. Ilic ^Iiior Mirl. It tin* a bmnUNi Ui^^m. wuiuioiily caMeu -tump lioird and jt-w lizard. £aniu liad 1.^.11 li.i^i.iii- inlratlv to tin- Inture. 1.. -l-Mir li.i fn-Iiii-^, Billv lliaMk- a r.,11,1 elToit lo j.utl kw |Vt oft by iLt !aH. tut witli lIm^ t-Mc4jer'» £lalH«s l'u.-hiu« louml like i-coi. L li^t* lie !?»?: to Wl il go. 1 be lizard gripped I'* I. -I ttiili i!« -.luir|- --j»»«, )»i-«J iit li.-a«t autt it» »ide rulUi, aud O|»ereti , it. hu»e uuutli. in Hit u,tml Wiillu^-j :iuiuuer it adofqod «1hii wol^Hml. In iLwl ukiiiiiiii^ atlituoe it ujl* a cfaly (u^lituuii^, tlM»i!»u in realitv it iviik t!1* r.^-mllMva r.-| til.- in tbe biuJi. Uilly ? j-t uff ail rr-)-uii6ilulm. He lirrtendej ii«4 tw **r it. ami uttauue it kpritlv iliteie«.ttHl in tJie tei-iul T «6 Siali O-\ib. It'ln-u fan ey» iit siiudwiiv un tin ti-p«u» ^?*'tlow moutii a^id beady t*ve» ?.:' the .linsuo. ENtrah liHib lcU karl; «.»l. xitb a .ivK-1 tluit iiatled li-- r»-f. Urr .^lUr-x- «a-- follouvd tiy a t. i.rra! luil.l.ub. Kver-liody iiuuyrd up. and leaiutt aiul nliofted e\t-iledi%- to «ai.l. llie teutiW. 'Sit ilwnu!.*' tvarvii t^lH^au. jiunpin;: up l:iiii»rti «ud ubni^: all uva Oi ^--u*i«-l i^wmii. Kmally Ive tixni a puzzlej k--i wti U» liuM. ~llov JM liuit grt lluM»-' br -- nundnl. Sirah »aij »be JMu't kilo'. I Si,. I.^.I »-amlM -»t anj rttK-J I t^'l'itatitiu at liit- t-tid of the d«-~k. { 1'illv ttiini It^. I ? IMea-e. -ii. it elimyeU tlierv from 1 ». :v.-njielr.' lie Mid. Eilly «]«»ys UjeJ to ~v*p a* near the tTUtl] w pu^li^e v;il,,.m ~i,i»_ hiiu«rll anmy. 7'kr r.;i-»n lu.t * nK-llitMos: e :I rtt ' (.1, riu ?Vu Krfj'l Iw afraid. Sirjii.- he j ?ai.t. »ilh » iaiut Mail*. - l'!:e li.'jnl I -i- i;uile tarmle-.-; it .vulilu't Lutt vou ii it «aiite.l to.' With that he took rt uy anj I'tit it tli-oujrh the window. For j :i:..t:n--it lie looked down the pad tl-k. '.Wu lumej about »ij .-alinl li- ? l.aiile»» : - Kub and set Jo'' elft!.-»'; -iie ;«*- i- on tire !' r vLini.e :«ft it, t -.tantu- Lurry ai- 1 1 ka^iidtvo ily^ :hat had been no~:r:-.- ? alvtt i-, ti^ iiack ^kiiitvui rusitej art*-i l.:ui will. M'metsliTc w kv mouth A! j I'ii:,-v PinsttaiE. 't'!«-d-e. .ir. a WaoiiiirlWw 'k iio^\ j:w »'-y .ftuuer fuis.' ^'rtBCirt WTtitinr ?-*r Mr rii.-sji, to .pe«.k ar dif!i«l lilei tie .kv' -\V&,.~e i..- -\ \!alt7' i,.'.eJ fie;-.',.! wi'i-.!t- at rVtrr P^MUu, »ko wat tiiv 'Wilt d:.i 1VJ ??-.- il i,l, fo:' il ?? jumLi^ t'ii..%;an - r« .-at-1. UiWn.'' - -ji.1 ! -.:.. a.ij t» ii, .vi,:,,i Up. ajj ru «lit-.l- .lo »»«or i;-m:ir.' at kwt. You ,,.,..„ l.,.., ,„ .^;u,.L. i....- w ml.b Ijiul'.- \ -'; a ,...«. -t ?:, hi. ;„ .1.n -oj t»- «„??.?.. j;.! ,-.-r-..- L:- !-»..? o_

Od Uw^rasi Wort iim Vinfeier an.l runtj-; cnpigcd' ii a vicious liattle of fisU. nliile Charlie Kckles m areseing himself and acting as referee at (lie iw time. Seeing Plicgnn, lie ctoppsd tbc fight b; throwing the chaff bag be l^toen tii£ combatautEj and Tan* 'Do you .know school'* in?' asked Fhe£an in a eauEtic sarcastic manner. 'He hit me first,' taid Peter, wip-' inp a bleeding nose- Tunty held up a lettered dinner-bajr, from which the dinner bad dj&appeared, and turned a damaged eve an lie teacher. '*1t nan hie dop,' lie «xp1aincd. 'Come into school !' said I'hvgan Hrrnlv; and wben tbey entered be tank into Lis ««t nith a grtlure of acspair arid a ueovling order to Peter, ''^ais booli-, anil firt the states out.' II S. SOKEKSONV