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Burr Junior   By: (1831-1909)

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Burr Junior, by George Manville Fenn.

I thought that it was unusual for Manville Fenn to set a novel in a boys' boarding school, since I had become used to exotic settings in Malaysia, or South America, for his tension filled novels. Here he certainly does not disappoint if it's tension and suspense you are expecting of him. The last few chapters, in particular, are extremely nail biting, but the book is quite hard to put down at any point.

It is Burr who is telling the story, and from his first day at the school he is friendly with Mercer, who is not good at his school work, but who knows a great deal about natural history, and imparts it to Burr, and of course to the readers as well. There is a gang of other boys who are inclined to bully, and at first they make life misery for Burr and Mercer but this is soon got over.

Other important figures are Hopley, the gamekeeper; his daughter Polly; the school Cook; Lomax, the school drill sergeant; Magglin, a ne'er do well and poacher; Dr Browne, the headmaster, and Mrs Browne; Rebble and Hasnip, ushers at the school; Burr's mother, and his uncle, Colonel Seaborough; and the local big landowner, General Sir Hawkhurst Rye.

It was a very enjoyable book to transcribe, and I am sure you will enjoy it. NH



"There'll be such a game directly. Just listen to old Dicksee."

I was very low spirited, but, as the bright, good looking lad at my side nudged me with his elbow, I turned from casting my eyes round the great bare oak panelled room, with its long desks, to the kind of pulpit at the lower end, facing a bigger and more important looking erection at the upper end, standing upon a broad dais raised a foot above the rest of the room. For this had been the banqueting hall of Meade Place, in the good old times of James the First, when its owner little thought it would ever be the schoolroom of Dr Browne's "Boarding Establishment for Gentlemen's Sons." In fact, there was a broad opening now, with a sliding door, right through the thick wall into the kitchen, so my companion told me, and that I should see the shoulders of mutton slip through there at dinner time.

So I looked at the lower pulpit, in which sat Mr Rebble, one of the ushers, a lank, pale faced, haggard man, with a dotting of freckles, light eyebrows, and pale red hair which stood up straight like that upon a clothes brush.

He was resting his elbows on the desk and wiping his hands one over the other, as if the air was water and he had a piece of soap between his palms. By him was a boy with a book, reading in a highly pitched voice which did not seem to fit him, being, like his clothes, too small for such a big fellow, with his broad face and forehead all wrinkled up into puckers with the exertion of reading.

"Tchish! tchish! Silence!" said Mr Rebble, giving three stamps on the floor. "Now go on, Dicksee."

"I say, do listen," said the boy by my side. "He isn't well, and I gave him a dose this morning."

"You did?" I said. "You hit him?"

"No, no," said the boy, laughing. "I often do though a miserable sneak. I gave him a dose of medicine. He had been eating too many of Polly Hopley's cakes. My father is a doctor!" he added importantly.

"Oh!" I said.

"I say, do listen. Did you ever hear such a whine?"

As he spoke, I heard the big, stoutly built boy give a tremendous sniff, and then go on reading.

"I love Penny Lope Penny Lope is loved by me."

"Pen el o pe!" cried the usher angrily, as he snatched the book from the boy's hands, closed it, and boxed his ears with it, right and left, over and over again. "You dumkopf !" he shouted; "you muddy brained ass! you'll never learn anything. You're more trouble than all the rest of the boys put together... Continue reading book >>

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