This was not long, however; Marco soon grew tired of it, and then began to look out the window. There was a little staple in the window sill, placed there as a means of fastening the blind. Marco pushed the point of his pencil into this staple, in order to see if it would go through. It did go through in an instant, and slipping through his fingers, it fell out of the window.
“Dear me! there goes my pencil. My pencil has dropped out of the window, cousin Forester; shall I go out and get it?”
“Act according to your own judgment,” said Forester. At the same time he was saying this, he made another mark upon his paper.
“Why, you ought not to count that, cousin Forester,” said Marco, “for I don’t know whether you’d wish me to go and get that pencil, or take another out of my desk.”
“Act according to your own judgment,” replied Forester.
Marco looked perplexed and troubled. In fact, he was a little displeased to find that Forester would not answer him. He thought that, it was an unforeseen emergency, which Forester ought to have considered an exception to his rule. But he was obliged to decide the question for himself, and he concluded to go out for his pencil. It took him some time to find it in the grass, and after he had found it, he stopped for some time longer, to watch some ants which were passing in and out, at the entrance to their nest, each one bringing up a grain of sand in his forceps. When Marco came in, he found that his hour for arithmetic was so nearly expired, that he should not have time to finish another sum, if he should begin it; so he put his arithmetical apparatus away, and took out his writing-book.
Marco went through the whole forenoon pretty much in the same way. He spent a large part of his time in looking out of the window and about the room. He went out at the time for the recess, but he stayed out twenty minutes instead of ten. He was astonished, when he came in, to see how rapidly the time had passed. He then took down a volume of the Encyclopedia, and read until twelve o’clock, and then, leaving the volume of the Encyclopedia and his writing-book on his desk, he told Forester that the study hours were over, and went away.
The next morning, at nine, Forester asked him how he had got along the day before. Marco had the frankness to admit that he did not get along very well.
“Still,” said Forester, “I am well satisfied on the whole. You did very well for a first experiment. In the first place, you did really make some effort to carry out my plan. You kept the reckoning of the hours, and changed your studies at the appointed time. You did not speak to me more than three or four times, and then you acquiesced pretty good-naturedly in my refusing to help you. To-day you will do better, I have no doubt, and to-morrow better still. And thus, in the course of a week, I have great confidence that you will learn to study for three hours by yourself, to good advantage.”