Fred came to him, and cried hysterically in his arms. Jack had experienced the same feeling for some poor rescued kitten. Fred, with his head full of King Arthur and his knights, mythology, and bits of children's histories, wherein figured heroes and soldiers, elected Jack to the highest niche in his regard. Jack Darcy was a wonderful boy withal, a very prince of boys, who hated study and work, and loved play; who despised Sunday clothes and girls' parties; but who had not his equal for spinning a top, or raising a kite, and when it came to leap-frog, or shortstop, he was simply immense. Then he always knew the best places to dig worms, and the little nooks where fish were sure to bite, the best chestnut and walnut trees; and, with years and experience, he excelled in baseball, skating, wrestling, leaping, and rowing. Jack Darcy was no dunce, either. Only one subject extinguished him entirely, and that was composition. Under its malign influence he sank to the level of any other boy. And here Fred shone pre-eminently, kindly casting his mantle over his friend, -- further, sometimes, than a conscientious charity would have admitted; but a boy's conscience is quite as susceptible of a bias as that of older and wiser people. On the other hand, Jack wrestled manfully with many a tough problems on which Fred would have been hopelessly stranded. Once roused the belligerent impulse in Jack, and he would fight his way through.

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