1. While Genie was walking slowly down street one day, she heard an odd rapping on the pavement behind her. Looking round, she saw Rob Grey hobbling on crutches.

2. 'Why, what is the matter?' cried Genie. 'I haven't seen you for a week, and now you are walking in that way.'

3. 'I shall have to walk in this way as much as a week longer, Genie. I sprained my ankle by stopping too quick— no, not too quick, either, for there was something in my way.' 'What was it?' asked Genie.

4. 'One of the Commandments,' replied Rob. 'You remember how that lecturer talked to us about 'holding the fort'? Well, I thought I should like to do it; but it's a pretty long war, you know—all a lifetime, and no vacations—furloughs, I think they call them.'

5. 'If there was nothing to fight, we should not need to be soldiers,' said Genie.

6. 'Well, I thought I would try; but the first day, when we came out of the schoolhouse, Jack Lee snatched my books out of my hand, and threw them into the mud.

7. 'I started after him as fast as I could run. I meant to throw him where he had thrown the books, when, all of a sudden, I thought of the Commandment about returning good for evil.

8. 'I stopped short—so short, that, somehow, my foot twisted under me. So, you see, it was one of the commandments.'

9. 'If one must stumble at them, it is a good thing to fall on the right side,' said Genie, with a wise nod of her head.

10. 'The whole thing puzzles me, and makes me feel— well, like giving it up,' said Rob. 'It might have served me right when I was chasing Jack; but when I thought of the Commandment, I really tried to do the right thing.'

11. 'You did do it, Rob,' said Genie. 'You 'held the fort' that time. Why, don't you see—you are only a wounded soldier.'

12. 'I never thought of that,' said Rob. 'If I believe that way—' He began to whistle, and limped off to school without finishing the sentence. But Genie knew, by the way he behaved that day, that he had made up his mind to hold the fort.


1. Pavement: A walk covered with brick or other hard material.

1. Crutches: Long sticks with crosspieces at the top, to aid lame persons in walking.

3. Sprained: Injured by wrenching or twisting.

4. Commandments: Holy laws recorded in the Bible.

4. Lecturer: A public speaker.

4. Vacation: The time between two school terms.

4. Furlough: A soldier's leave of absence.

11. Wounded: Hurt, injured.

12. Behaved: Acted.

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