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11
THE BLANK CHEQUE.

know, but he grows—mercy on us, how that boy does grow! You've no idea what a Weight he is! Then there's Freddy, that tall boy in the corner: he's rather too big for the others, that's a fact—and he's something of a Bully at times, but the boy has a tender heart, too: give him a bit of poetry, now, and he's as maudlin as a girl! Then there's Benjy, again: a nice boy, but I daren't tell you what he costs us in pocket-money! Oh, the work we had with that boy, till we raised his allowance! Hadn't we, John?' ('John' grunted in acquiescence.) 'It was Arthur took up his cause so much, and worried poor John and me nearly into our graves! Arthur was a very nice boy, Mr. De Ciel, and as great a favourite with the other boys as Harry is now, before he went to Westminster. He used to tell them stories, and draw them the prettiest pictures you ever saw! Houses that were all windows and chimnies—what they call "High Art," I believe. We tried a conservatory once on the High-Art principle, and (would you believe it?) the man stuck the roof up on a lot of rods like so many knitting-needles! Of course it soon came down about our ears, and we had to do it all over