Stalky

Stalky

STALKY RUDYARD KIPLING "Let us now praise famous men"-- Men of little showing-- For their work continueth And their work continueth Greater than their knowing. Western wind and open surge Tore us from our mothers; Flung us on a naked shore (Twelve bleak houses by the shore! Seven summers by the shore!) 'Mid two hundred brothers. There we met with famous men Set in office o'er us. And they beat on us with rods-- Faithfully with many rods-- Daily beat us on with rods-- For the love they bore us! Out of Egypt unto Troy-- Over Himalaya-- Far and sure our bands have gone-- Hy-Brasil or Babylon Islands of the Southern Run And cities of Cathaia! And we all praise famous men-- Ancients of the College; For they taught us common sense--- Tried to teach us common sense-- Truth and God's Own Common Sense Which is more than knowledge! Each degree of Latitude Strung about Creation Seeth one (or more) of us (Of one muster all of us-- Of one master all of us--) Keen in his vocation. This we learned from famous men Knowing not its uses When they showed in daily work Man must finish off his work-- Right or wrong his daily work- And without excuses. Servants of the staff and chain Mine and fuse and grapnel-- Some before the face of Kings Stand before the face of Kings; Bearing gifts to divers Kings-- Gifts of Case and Shrapnel. This we learned from famous men Teaching in our borders. Who declare'd it was best Safest easiest and best-- Expeditious wise and best-- To obey your orders. Some beneath the further stars Bear the greater burden. Set to serve the lands they rule (Save he serve no man may rule) Serve and love the lands they rule; Seeking praise nor guerdon. This we learned from famous men Knowing not we learned it. Only as the years went by-- Lonely as the years went by-- Far from help as years went by Plainer we discerned it. Wherefore praise we famous men Prom whose bays we borrow-- They that put aside Today-- All the joys of their Today-- And with toil of their Today Bought for us Tomorrow! Bless and praise we famous men Men of little showing! For their work continueth And their work continueth Broad and deep continueth Great beyond their knowing! Copyright 1899. by Rudyard Kipling CONTENTS I. IN AMBUSH II. SLAVES OF THE LAMP--PART I. III. AN UNSAVORY INTERLUDE IV. THE IMPRESSIONISTS V. THE MORAL REFORMERS VI. A LITTLE PREP. VII. THE FLAG OF THEIR COUNTRY VIII. THE LAST TERM IX. SLAVES OF THE LAMP --PART II. "IN AMBUSH." In summer all right-minded boys built huts in the furze-hill behind the College--little lairs whittled out of the heart of the prickly bushes full of stumps odd root-ends and spikes but since they were strictly forbidden palaces of delight. And for the fifth summer in succession Stalky McTurk and Beetle (this was before they reached the dignity of a study) had built like beavers a place of retreat and meditation where they smoked. Now there was nothing in their characters as known to Mr. Prout their house-master at all commanding respect; nor did Foxy the subtle red-haired school Sergeant trust them. His business was to wear tennis-shoes carry binoculars and swoop hawklike upon evil boys. Had he taken the field alone that hut would have been raided for Foxy knew the manners of his quarry; but Providence moved Mr. Prout whose school-name derived from the size of his feet was Hoofer to investigate on his own account; and it was the cautious Stalky who found the track of his pugs on the very floor of their lair one peaceful afternoon when Stalky would fain have forgotten Prout and his works in a volume of Surtees and a new briar-wood pipe. Crusoe at sight of the footprint did not act more swiftly than Stalky. He removed the pipes swept up all loose match-ends and departed to warn Beetle and McTurk. But it was characteristic of the boy that he did not approach his allies till he had met and conferred with little Hartopp President of the Natural History Society an institution which Stalky held in contempt Hartopp was more than surprised when the boy meekly as he knew how begged to propose himself Beetle and McTurk as candidates; confessed to a long-smothered interest in first-flowerings early butterflies and new arrivals and volunteered if Mr. Hartopp saw fit to enter on the new life at once. Being a master Hartopp was suspicious; but he was also an enthusiast and his gentle little soul had been galled by chance-heard remarks from the three and specially Beetle. So he was gracious to that repentant sinner and entered the three names in his book. Then and not till then did Stalky seek Beetle and McTurk in their house form-room. They were stowing away books for a quiet afternoon in the furze which they called the "wuzzy." "All up" said Stalky serenely. "I spotted Heffy's fairy feet round our hut after dinner. 'Blessing they're so big." "Con-found! Did you hide our pipes?" said Beetle. "Oh no. Left 'em in the middle of the hut of course. What a blind ass you are Beetle! D'you think nobody thinks but yourself? Well we can't use the hut any more. Hoofer will be watchin' it." ...