«Beetle! You’re oppressed and insulted and bullied by King. Don’t you feel it?»

«Let me alone! I can write some more poetry about him if I am, I suppose.»

«Mad! Quite mad!» said Stalky to the visitors, as one exhibiting strange beasts. «Beetle reads an ass called Brownin’, and McTurk reads an ass called Ruskin; and—»

«Ruskin isn’t an ass,» said McTurk. «He’s almost as good as the Opium Eater. He says ‘we’re children of noble races trained by surrounding art.’ That means me, and the way I decorated the study when you two badgers would have stuck up brackets and Christmas cards. Child of a noble race, trained by surrounding art, stop reading, or I’ll shove a pilchard down your neck!»

«It’s two to one,» said Stalky, warningly, and Beetle closed the book, in obedience to the law under which he and his companions had lived for six checkered years.