Cover Eric
Genres: Fiction » Children

Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III. BULLYING. " Give to the morn of life its natural blessedness."?Wordsworth. j'HY is it that new boys are almost invariably ill-treated? i have often fancied that there must be in boyhood a pseudo-instinctive cruelty, 'a sort of " wild trick of the ancestral savage," which no amount of civilization can entirely repress. Certain it is, that to most boys the first term is a trying ordeal. They are being tested and weighed. Their place in the general estimation is not yet fixed, and the slightest circumstances are seized upon to settle the category under which the boy is to be classed. A few apparently trivial accidents of his first few weeks at school often decide his position in the general regard for the remainder of his boyhood. And yet these are not accidents; they are the slight indications w


hich give an unerring proof of the general tendencies of his character and training. Hence much of the apparent cruelty with which new boys are treated is not exactly intentional. At first, of course, as they can have no friends worth speaking of, there are always 28 THE FIRST TERM. plenty of coarse and brutal minds that take a pleasure in their torment, particularly if they at once recognise any innate superiority to themselves. Of this class was Barker. He hated Eric at first sight, simply because his feeble mind could only realise one idea about him, and that was the new boy's striking contrast with his own imperfections. Hence he left no means untried to vent on Eric his low and mean jealousy. He shewed "undisguised pleasure when he fell in form, and signs of disgust when he rose ; he fomented every little source of disapproval or quarrelling which happened to arise against him; he never looked at him without a frown or a sneer ; he waited for him to kick and anno...

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