Harper's Young People, March 30, 1880 An Illustrated Weekly

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Excerpt There was one boy in the Merrit Academy who never joined in any of the games; never went skating; never went swimming; never made a snow man or threw snow-balls; never came to the meetings of the debating society, where such questions as, "If a fellow ask a fellow for a bite of a fellow's apple, which is the politer way to give it to a fellow—to bite off a piece yourself, or let a fellow bite for himself?" were debated with much mock gravity and real fun. He looked with horror on all kinds of fighting; had no admiration for great generals; thought war should be abolished; shuddered at tales of cruelty and suffering; was constitutionally timid and extremely credulous; hated thunder and lightning; liked birds, flowers, pretty verses, and fairy tales; believed in ghosts and supernatural beings; was very fair haired, very blue eyed, tall, slender, and named Harold Lord. But after the first week or two of his attendance at school—he was a day scholar—his real name was never heard, for his school-mates, quickly finding out his peculiar characteristics, skillfully turned it into "Lady Harriet," and Lady Harriet he remained for for many a long year. Of course, being so girlish in his appearance, ways, and tastes, and of so reserved and gentle a disposition, the other boys rather looked down upon him, and, after the manner of boys, made him the subject of much chaff and many practical jokes; and so it came about when Charley Bennet and Ned Morningstar and Hen Rowe began on the afternoon of the 31st of March to talk about the 1st of April, they hit upon Lady Harriet as a boy who would make a capital "April-fool." "We can have no end of fun with him," said Charley. "You know he lives all alone with his grandmother—" "A Little Red Riding-hood," interrupted Hen Rowe. "—down by the cedar woods," continued Bennet. "But the question now in order is, what kind of fun shall it be?" "Dress up like Indians, and pretend you're goin' to scalp him," proposed little Al Smith, who had joined the party—a thing no other small boy in that establishment would have dared to do; but then Alfred, as his aunt called him—and a very cross old aunt she was, too—had no father nor mother, and was such a good-natured, willing, reliable young chap that his older school-mates made quite a pet of him, and allowed him many liberties they would have allowed to no one else in his class. "Nonsense, Smithey," said Hen Rowe. "Ghosts is the thing;" and striking an attitude, he quoted: "'I am thy father's spirit;Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night;And, for the day, confined to fast in fires....I could a tale unfold, whose lightest wordWould harrow up thy soul; fre-e-e-eze thy young blood;Make thy—'" "That's quite enough of that, Rowe," said Bennet. "A band of young desperadoes is my idea. The papers are full of 'em just now—fellows living in caves and other queer places, and robbing right and left (result of reading too many dime novels; heard the Professor say so this morning). Been 'round here too; stole Uncle Jeff's calf day before yesterday; and his grandmother goes to sewing society to-morrow night." "The calf's grandmother?" asked Hen Rowe. "Didn't know you had any grandmother," said Bennet. "Charley's hit on the very thing," declared Ned Morningstar. "We'll let three or four other fellows into the joke, and I'll be captain, and we'll wear masks, and all the old clothes we can beg, borrow, or take, and get ourselves up prime as a No....
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