Lord Lorne and the Rat
While at school at Eton, Lord Lorne, the present Governor of Canada, had
one scrape which exhibited him in a light that boys will appreciate. He
was standing on the steps of Upper School one morning, waiting for
eleven o'clock school, when one Campbell, a namesake of his, but no
relative, asked him to hold a pet rat for a moment, while he–the owner
of the beast–ran back to his dame's to fetch a book which he had
On receiving the assurance that the rat was perfectly tame, and would
not even bite a kitten, Lorne put him into the pocket of his jacket, and
told the owner to make haste, but just at that moment the masters came
out of "Chambers" and ascended the staircase, so Lorne was obliged to go
into school with the brute.
All went well for five minutes, but soon the rat, indifferent to the
honor of inhabiting a marquis' pocket, crept out and jumped on to the
Some boys saw it and set up a titter, which excited the attention of the
form-master, Mr. Y——, nicknamed "Stiggins," a strict disciplinarian.
"Who brought that rat into school?" he asked.
Lorne confessed that he was the culprit.
"Well, make haste to catch him and carry him out, or I shall complain of
you," said Mr. Y——.
My lord laid down his Homer, but to catch the rat was not easy. Seeing
himself an object of general attention, the animal darted under the
scarlet curtain which separated one division from another, and, rushing
amid a new lot of boys, provoked an uproar.
In a minute all the boys in the upper school-room, some two hundred and
odd, were on their feet shouting, laughing, hooting, and preparing to
throw their books at the rat, who, however, spared them this trouble by
ducking down a hole, where he disappeared for good and a'.
Lorne had to come back, red and breathless, declaring that his game had
eluded pursuit, whereupon Mr. Y——, who disliked riots, proceeded to
make out a "bill" which consigned his lordship after school to the care
of the Sixth Form Præposter.
Luckily Dr. Goodford took a merciful view of the affair, and, as Lorne
had not yet had "first fault," absolved him from kneeling on the block.
It is to be noted that Lorne might easily have exonerated himself by
explaining under what circumstances he had taken charge of the rat; but
he was not the kind of boy to back out of a scrape by betraying a
friend, and if Dr. Goodford had refused him the benefit of a first
fault, he would certainly have taken his flogging without a murmur.