“They’re both widows,” he thought; “but there isn’t any other resemblance.”
Ford and Dick brought up the rear; and for some reason, or there may have been more than one, they were both in capital good spirits.
“Tell you wot,” exclaimed Dick: “if goin’ to de ’cad’my is all like dis yer—I am very glad indeed that I ever came.”
“Oh! you’re all right,” said Ford; “but there’s more good people in this village than I’d any idea of. I’m glad we came to church.”
“Dick,” said Mrs. Myers a little sharply, when they reached the gate, “I want some wood and a pail of water. You’d better hurry up stairs, and put on your every-day clothes.”
LETTERS HOME FROM THE BOYS.—DICK LEE’S FIRST GRIEF.
There was a large number of new scholars assembled in the “great room” of Grantley Academy on the first Monday morning of that “fall term.” There were also many who had been there before, but the new-comers were in the majority. There were boys from the village, boys from the surrounding country, and boys from even farther away than the southern shore of Long Island; and they were of many kinds and ages. The youngest may have been “under twelve,” and entitled to ride in a street-car at half-price; and several of the very older ones had already cast their first vote as grown-up men.
Counting them all, and adding those who were to make their appearance during the week, they made a little army of nearly two hundred. There was also a young ladies’ department, with about a hundred pupils; and there was quite as great a variety among them as among their young gentlemen fellow-students.
The class-rooms assigned to the lady teachers and their several grades of learners were all on the northern side of the academy building. There was a large wing there that belonged to them, and they only met the boys face to face in the “great room” during morning exercises. Even those of them who lived or boarded in the southern half of the village found their way across the green, coming and going, under the shade of the most northerly row of trees.
As to the “great room” itself, there had been much trouble about the name of it. Dr. Brandegee called it “the lecture-room,” and he did a great deal towards making it so. There were those who tried to say “chapel” when they spoke of it; but so many others refused to know what place they were speaking of, that they had to give it up. “Hall” would not fit, because it was square; and the boys generally rejected the doctor’s name because of unpleasant-ideas connected with the word “lecture.” So it came to be “the great room,” and no more; and a great thing it was for Dick Lee to find himself sitting on one of the front seats of it, with his friends all in line at his right, waiting their turn with him to be “classified,” and sent about their business.