Tom Brown

Tom Brown's School Days

from the Introduction to Tom Brown's school Days...

Tom Brown was a robust and combative urchin, (just the type of Sniffling toady that Flashman disliked.) and at the age of four began to struggle against the yoke and authority of his nurse ... Charity Lamb (Probally just the sort of busty young bint that Flashman adored.) Tom had two abettors in the shape of a couple of old boys, Noah and Benjamin by name, who defended him from Charity and expended much time on his education. (Rot thier hides for filling his head with useless nonsense about doing your duty and trying your best for the sake of your elders and other such nonsense.) They were both of them retired servants of former generation of Browns ... But old Benjy was young Master's real delight and refuge. he was a youth by the side of Noah, scarce seventy years old. A cheery, humorous, kind-heared old man, full of sixty years of vale gossip, (and a good deal of wind no doubt) and of all sorts of helpful ways for young and old, but above all for children. It was he who bent the first pin with which Tom extracted his first stickleback out of "Pebbly Brook", the little stream which ran through the village. (would have done old Brown more good to have thrown him in...)"

Tom Brown's School Days is mainly remembered, however, for the accounts of Tom's adventures at Rugby School. It illustrates Hughes's ideas about education, with a thorough characterisation of the worthy Doctor Arnold, headmaster of Rugby. The book was remembered by George Macdonald Fraser for the tales of bullying, Cadishness from the notorious Flashman!


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Tom Brown's Schooldays Video[1950]

Tom Brown's School days by Hughes, Thomas Hughes, Thomas, 1822-96, English author. A lawyer, Hughes eventually became a judge; he was also a Liberal member of Parliament and worked assiduously for social reforms. His novel of school life, Tom Brown's School Days (1857), is a classic. Its sequel, Tom Brown at Oxford (1861), was less successful.

Flashman's Down Fall, From Tom Brown's School Days. Thomas Hughes

Well one evening, in the forbidden hours Tom and East were in the hall. They occupied the seats before the fire nearest the door, while Diggs sprawled as usual before the further fire. He was busy with a copy of verses, and East and Tom were chatting together in whispers by the light of the fire, and splicing a favourite old fives'-bat which had sprung.

Presently a step came down the bottom passage; they listened a moment, assured themselves that it wasn't a præpostor, and then went on with their work, and the door swung open, and in walked Flashman. He didn't see Diggs, and thought it a good chance to keep his hand in; and as the boys didn't move for him, struck one of them, to make them get out of his way.

"What's that for?" growled the assaulted one.

"Because I choose. You've no business here ; go to your study."

" You can't send us."

" Can't I ? Then I'll thrash you if you stay," said Flashman, savagely.

" I say, you two," said Diggs, from the end of the Hall, rousing up and resting himself on his elbow, "you'll never get rid of that fellow till you lick him. Go in at him, both of you - I'll see fair play."

Flashman was taken aback, and retreated two steps. East looked at Tom. "Shall we try?" said he. "Yes," said Tom, desperately. So the two advanced on Flashman, with clenched fists and beating hearts. They were about up to his shoulder, but tough boys of their age, and in perfect training; while he, though strong and big, was in poor condition from his monstrous habits of stuffing and want of exercise. Coward as he was, however, Flashman couldn't swallow such an insult as this; besides, he was confident of having easy work, and so faced the boys, saying, "You impudent young blackguards ! " Before he could finish his abuse, they rushed in on him, and began pummelling at all of him which they could reach! He hit out wildly and savagely, but the full force of his blows didn't tell, they were too near him. It was long odds, though, in point of strength, and in another minute Tom went spinning backwards over a form, and Flashman turned to demolish East, with a savage grin. But now Diggs jumped down from the table on which he had seated himself. " Stop there," shouted he, " the round's over-half minute time allowed."

" What the devil is it to you ? " faltered Flashman, who began to lose heart.

" I'm going to see fair, I tell you," said Diggs with a grin, and snapping his great red fingers; " 'tain't fair for you to be fighting one of them at a time. Are you ready, Brown? Time's up." The small boys rushed in again. Closing they saw was their best chance, and Flashman was wilder and more flurried than ever: he caught East by the throat, and tried to force him back on the iron-bound table ; Tom grasped his waist, and, remembering the old throw he had learned in the Vale from Harry Winburn, crooked his leg inside Flashman's, and threw his.whole weight forward. The three tottered for a moment, and then over they went on to the floor, Flashman striking his head against a form in the Hall. The two youngsters sprang to their legs, but he lay there still. They began to be frightened. Tom stooped down, and then cried out, scared out of his wits, " He's bleeding awfully; come here, East! Diggs, - he's dying!" " Not he," said Diggs, getting leisurely off the table; " it's all sham - he's only afraid to fight it out." East was as frightened as 1'om. Diggs lifted Flashman's head, and he groaned.

" What's the matter ? " shouted Diggs. " My skull's fractured," sobbed Flashman. "Oh, let me run for the housekeeper," cried Tom. " What shall we do?" " Fiddlesticks! it's nothing but the skin broken," said the relentless Diggs, feeling his head. " Cold water and a bit of rag's all he'll want." "Let me go," said Flashman, surlily, sitting up; "I don't want your help." "We're really very sorry," began East. "Hang your sorrow," answered Flashman, holding his handkerchief to the place ; " you shall pay for this, I can tell you, both of you." And he walked out of the Hall.

Read how Flashman was later expelled from Rugy in Volume One of the Flashman Papers.

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    The next Instalment of the Flashman Papers


    George Macdonald Fraser

    April 2005

    Covering the 1868

    Flashman's Campaign to Abyssinia

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