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The Cock-House at Fellsgarth   By: (1852-1893)

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The Cock House at Fellsgarth

By Talbot Baines Reed For some reason this book was quite hard to convert to e Book, so that if any error is detected by a reader I would be grateful if I could be told, either by email, or by using our Bulletin Board.

This is another story set in a nineteenth century boy's boarding school, and is quite similar to "The Fifth Form at Saint Dominic's".

At the time it was greatly acclaimed, and said to be very like a real boarding school, but things must have changed because I was at one such school only fifty years after this book was written, and I can't imagine any of it happening at my school. On the other hand I was also at a boarding school for boys aged 8 to 13, which was much more like the school in this story. As I say, things must have changed.

It takes about ten hours to play as an audiobook. There are a number of quite tense incidents, particularly when a party of boys decide to walk up a nearby mountain, and the weather turns very nasty. This is in chapters 17 to 19. But there are many other well described incidents, so do read the book, remembering that boys' slang has changed greatly in the past hundred years. THE COCK HOUSE AT FELLSGARTH

BY TALBOT BAINES REED

CHAPTER ONE.

GREEN AND BLUE.

First night at Fellsgarth was always a festive occasion. The holidays were over, and school had not yet begun. All day long, from remote quarters, fellows had been converging on the dear old place; and here they were at last, shoulder to shoulder, delighted to find themselves back in the old haunts. The glorious memories of the summer holidays were common property. So was not a little of the pocket money. So, by rule immemorial, were the contents of the hampers. And so, as they discovered to their cost, were the luckless new boys who had to day tumbled for the first time headlong into the whirlpool of public school life.

Does some one tell me he never heard of Fellsgarth? I am surprised. Where can you have been brought up that you have never heard of the venerable ivy clad pile with its watch tower and two wings, planted there, where the rivers Shale and Shargle mingle their waters, a mile or more above Hawkswater? My dear sir, Fellsgarth stood there before the days when Henry the Eighth, (of whom you may have possibly heard in the history books) abolished the monasteries and, some wicked people do say, annexed their contents.

There is very little of the old place standing now. A piece of the wall in the head master's garden and the lower buttresses of the watch tower, that is all. The present building is comparatively modern; that is to say, it is no older than the end of the Civil Wars, when some lucky adherent to the winning side built it up as a manor house and disfigured the tower with those four pepper castors at the corners. Successive owners have tinkered the place since then, but they cannot quite spoil it. Who can spoil red brick and ivy, in such a situation?

Not know Fellsgarth! Have you never been on Hawkswater then, with its lonely island, and the grey screes swooping down into the clear water? And have you never seen Hawk's Pike, which frowns in on the fellows through the dormitory window? I don't ask if you have been up it. Only three persons, to my knowledge (guides and natives of course excepted), have done that. Yorke was one, Mr Stratton was another, and the other but that's to be part of my story.

First night, as I have said, was a specially "go as you please" occasion at the school. Masters, having called over their roll, disappeared into their own quarters and discreetly heard nothing. Dames, having received and unpacked the "night bags," retired elsewhere to wrestle with the big luggage. The cooks, having passably satisfied the cravings of two hundred and fifty hungry souls, and having removed out of harm's way the most perishable of the crockery, shrugged their shoulders and shut themselves into the kitchens, listening to the noise and speculating on the joys of the coming term... Continue reading book >>




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